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Romney visits crumbling Utah bridge to laud bill he negotiated

Posted at 5:29 PM, Aug 23, 2023

SANDY, Utah — The Willow Green Circle Bridge is melting away.

Built in 1995 — recent by American infrastructure standards — across Little Cottonwood Creek in a Sandy neighborhood, it’s concrete is deteriorating, exposing rebar and cables and reducing the bridge’s strength. Water seeps from the deck.

A sign limits truck weight to 34 tons. Bridges are typically designed to bear 40 tons.

“But we would not be able to get to our house without crossing the bridge,” said Alison Van Leeuwen, who lives nearby.

The neighborhood infrastructure is about to get an upgrade. Construction is expected to start next year on a new bridge at the cost of about $2.4 million, mostly paid for by the federal government.

The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is helping replace the Willow Green Circle Bridge, another similar bridge a few blocks away, and about 88 others across the state. Most of those bridges are owned by local governments who would otherwise have a hard time finding the money.

“Here in our state, we’re seeing bridges replaced. Highways replaced,” said U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney.

Romney negotiated the infrastructure bill. He was the only member of the Utah congressional delegation to vote for it.

“And it’s always easy for the base of either party,” Romney said, without referencing any of the nay voters specifically, “to say, ‘Well, it’s not what I would have gotten. I would have gotten something that just I liked and all the money went to my state.’ But if you want to get it passed, you have to find something that meets in the middle and that’s what we were able to do.”

Cyndi Sharkey, a councilwoman at-large on the Sandy City Council, said the city has been “grappling” for years on how to find money to pay for the two bridges. With the infrastructure bill, the federal government will pay about 85% of the costs.

“It’s a huge win for Sandy, absolutely, and for Sandy taxpayers,” Sharkey said.

CLICK HERE for a list and map of bridges scheduled for replacement/

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