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Teamwork bridges the gap

When heavy rains nearly washed out a Camp Union neighborhood’s bridge, cutting emergency vehicles access, local businesses came to their rescue.

Several businesses donated or discounted materials for residents in the Cantu Lane neighborhood so they can build a new bridge. A bigger better bridge.

The current 16-foot bridge was damaged by an Oct. 20 rainstorm and rendered unsafe for vehicles over 15,000 pounds said long-time Cantu Lane resident Lisa McCabe.

“Water came over the top of the bridge. We lost two main support beams,” she said. Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue officials deemed the bridge unsafe for fire apparatus. Medical and command vehicles however use the bridge.

The neighborhood has pulled together and is building a 40-foot bridge, which means increasing the road height by four feet on either side and widening the creek bed by a total of 20 feet.

“We are scraping for every penny,” McCabe said. While other residents are using their welding, engineering and construction skills, McCabe is on the phone asking for donations and getting the word out.

“So far it’s kind of like dominoes,” said resident Candy Gibson, describing how things have fallen into place.

The Cantu Lane Road Maintenance Association is in high gear with a Web site to tell the slow going tale of bridge building. So far the group has rallied support from Bowman Construction, Evergreen Lumber, Addison Construction, H.D.Fowler, Silverdale’s Sherwin Williams Paint, X-Treme Painting, Inc., D.D. Boring, Premier Rentals of Port Orchard, Kitsap Reclamation & Materials, Tacoma Screw and Kitsap Ready Mix, Inc.

“I’m just so thrilled and pleased that these people have come forward to help us,” McCabe said.

But she adds, the group is in need of two large excavators to widen the creek bed and place the I-beams. One would have to sit on the far side of the bridge for about two weeks. At more than $300 a day that adds up, McCabe said. The group also needs rock supplies and about 30 yards of concrete.

The group has contacted FEMA for possible financial support, but they can’t wait the weeks or months it could take to process the claim. The old bridge will close Dec. 20. A new foot bridge has been built and folks will have to park on the side of the road, or in a neighbor’s yard and walk home.

As for the unease of not having a safe passage for fire trucks Gibson said, “We just kind of have to accept it and get (the bridge) it done.”

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