Historical information about the process of the construction of the new bridge (completed in 2014).


Since its construction in 1958, RIIA has collected funds to maintain the Island's privately-owned 788-foot timber bridge. Annual engineering inspections are performed to ensure the safety and performance of the structure. Annual repairs are typically budgeted and completed the following year.

In 1996, RIIA recommended and approved a vote to establish a Bridge Replacement Fund (BRF) whereby, in addition to regular Island management dues, an investment strategy was created to fund the future reconstruction of the Raft Island bridge. In 2011 the annual Bridge Replacement assessment will be $415 per lot with a 8.04% increase each year through 2016.

Summary ...

In 2011, the Bridge Committee reported that based on rising maintenance costs, engineering expenses, insurance fees, permitting and construction repairs needed to keep our bridge structurally sound and even with last year's increase, RIIA Membership Dues for Bridge Repairs are not keeping up.

There have been approximately $624,000 in repairs over the last 10 years. The work to solicit bids, review engineering estimates and supervise this work has been done by volunteers. But as the bridge continues to age, these repairs are becoming more critical and costly. The work once done by volunteers is becoming more and more difficult without professional oversight.

This year's annual bridge inspection (see 2012 Bridge Inspection Report below) identifies "Priority 1 Repairs" on page 19 (in-document page 17). A bid estimate for that work will be posted once received.

The Choices ...

Although maintenance could continue indefinitely, the cost to design, engineer, permit, project manage, mobilize, supervise and repair every few years is estimated to be over double the cost to replace the bridge. By 2018, the projected annual dues increase needed to continue maintaining the bridge may actually cost more than the annual dues needed to construct a new one.

In order to protect the value of our homes and our properties, we have developed a decisive plan forward. Our shared ownership requires informed and collective decisions. With the 1995 Bridge Replacement Assessment expiring in 2016 and well below what's needed to build a new bridge, doing nothing was not an option. On February 28th, 2011, members of the Bridge Committee presented their recommendation to the Board. After an extensive discussion, both groups unanimously voted to recommend moving to the next phase to replace the Raft Island Bridge.

In the interim, the Board proposed an increase in our Bridge Replacement Fund (BRF) from approximately $34 per month ($415 per year) to a total of $100 per month (an increase of $785** annually for a total of $1200 in 2011). (** The $785 amount will be collected through 2016 and does not include the 8.04% bump each year.)

The Vote ...

Go to the Community page to see the RIIA dues schedule.

Annual Membership Meeting (Monday, May 16, 2011) Vote Results:

  • Increase the BRF fund collections by $785/yr - Approved: 103 yes / 33 no
  • Phase I to replace the bridge - Approved: 116 yes / 19 no

A majority vote in favor of replacing the bridge directed the Bridge Committee and Board to research funding options, legal advice, tax considerations and engineering consultants services. Findings were presented to the membership through Information Meetings posted on the front page of this website and on the Bridge. Prior to moving to Phase II of the project (obligate the membership to a funding institution), another voting ballot will be circulated. That ballot is expected in the 3rd quarter of 2012.

Any member that would like to help, please contact the Island Manager.

Funding Update ...

USDA provides direct loans for bridge reconstruction project (read more...)

RFQ for Project Manager ...

In September 2011, the Bridge Committee posted a Request for Qualifications to solicit an "owner-representative" to assist RIIA by acting as Project Manager for the project. A contract with Baillie and Associates was approved (March 2012) to manage Phase I work (geo-technical analysis, topographic survey, mapping validation and preliminary analysis for a preferred bridge design) passed by ballot vote in May 2011. That work was completed in August 2012.

In November, the Board approved a contract with Roger Hansen to act as "owner rep" for subsequent phases. Hansen led the successful Treasure Island Bridge Replacement Project on time and within budget.

Wilson Report ...

(Excerpt from RIIA NEWSLETTER - Spring 2012)

"In February of this year, Charles Waugh from Wilson Engineers located in Bellingham submitted a proposal to more extensively repair the creosote piling under the bridge. His proposal suggests that a fiber polymer wrap might extend the life of the bridge pilings. He also proposed that contractors could repair damaged areas, rehabilitate the structure and add additional hardware to help protect the bridge from future decay. For a fee of $5,488, Waugh submitted a survey to provide more detailed and specific information on current conditions and potential repair designs. (The life expectancy of these major repairs is unknown at this time.)

In the interest of bringing clarity to our commitment of rebuilding a 75-year bridge and at the request of a number of Island members, the Board agreed to fund this study under the direction of our Project Manager (PM) Geoffrey Baillie PE. The Board also approved a supplemental agreement with him in the amount of $6,848 to review the Wilson contract and proposal. Baillie oversaw and coordinated field work to ensure that enough information was provided to compare and contrast the feasibility of replacement vs. repair."

Only one contractor provided an "estimate" based on the Wlson Report. The estimate from Wesslen Construction of $2,044,142 for deck replacement and wrapping 176 piling was not considered comprehensive and did not include sales tax. There were no contingency for items that may be discovered during renovation that will require repair. Baillie provided an evaluation and recommendation that was presented to the membership on August 13, 2012 and September 10, 2012.

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