WALKER – International tariffs between the United States and other nations might seem to have no effect on a bridge in Walker, but they do.

Chief of Operations Jamie Etheridge updated the City Council on Monday on the status of the Keith Street bridge, three culverts that pass under the CN Railroad tracks.

“We met with our engineering firm and wanted to put it out on bid and get prices,” Etheridge said.

But first the city needs to get a “jurisdictional determination” from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make sure no wetlands are involved, he said.

“They determined the ditch is wetlands," Mayor John Watson said.

“This is a 90-day process,” Etheridge said, and the process has about another 60 days to go.

The project is not big enough to require sealed bids, so the city would need to get three bid estimates.

“We put information out to contractors who have done this work,” Etheridge said. “They look at the scope of work and area, get material prices and submit a price."

But contractors are hesitant to submit a bid 60 days in advance because of worries that tariffs could affect the cost of materials.

The United States has imposed tariffs on some imports – including construction materials -- from other nations, who have in turn put tariffs on U.S. products.

More tariffs have been threatened by both sides.

“We first thought we could do it ourselves,” Watson said about the bridge project.

“If we do this project, nothing else will get done,” he said, “and we have numerous calls a day and outstanding work orders.”

“It is a small project. It should move very quickly,” once it starts, Etheridge said.

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