The bridge that will replacing the aging, condemend wooden structure that links Kramer Ball Fields to Fred Fuller Park will be replaced in 2013, but not until closer to the end of the year.
Kent City Engineer Jim Bowling updated members of Kent City Council briefly on the project Wednesday as council signed off on an initial agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the project.
Bowling said the city learned a species of mussels lives in the area of the Cuyahoga River where the new bridge's two pylons will built, and because of the mussels construction cannot take place during their mating season in the warmer months.
"So we’re looking at potentially starting construction in November or December to do the work in the river, which … is not the best time to do the work," Bowling said.
In addition, the city must hire a malacologist — a biologist who specializes in mollusks — to relocate the mussels before actual construction can start.
The discovery of the freshwater mussels appears to be a fairly recent one, as Kent Parks and Recreation Director John Idone told Kent Patch in late November that he anticipated construction on the bridge would start in the summer of 2013.
City engineers estimate the cost to build the new, one-lane bridge to be about $1.16 million.
Of the total cost, the project is eligible for 80 percent federal money up to $968,000. The balance will be paid for by the Kent Parks and Recreation Department. No money will come directly from the city's capital projects fund, Bowling said.
The city closed what's known as the existing Redmond Bridge to the ball fields in April 2011 for safety reasons due to problems with the bridge's structure.