County cordons off unsafe bridge
By DAWNE LEIKER
Because of its unsafe condition, a county bridge north of Ellis has been closed as a result of a consultant's review of area bridges.
Located in the 300 block of Locust Grove approximately 2 miles north of Interstate 70 north of Ellis, the bridge is in immediate need of repair, according to information presented Monday by Tom Bennett of BG Consultants to Ellis County commissioners.
Bennett, illustrating the bridge's condition with photographs and a piece of steel he pulled from the bridge, told commissioners the bridge has been monitored for a few years.
"I grabbed this and just took it off," he said, indicating a piece of steel he held in his hand. "I was poking my finger in steel, and there were portions of the steel bars that were completely gone.
"That means there's no reinforcement in the bottom of it."
Public Works Director Mike Graf said the bridge had been closed Friday.
Bennett said he would recommend using the structure's rock piers and abutments, raising the deck to the level of the roadway and surfacing it with concrete.
Although county staff had considered the option of shoring up the structure temporarily, Graf said he saw benefits in proceeding with reconstruction.
"In my mind, if we're going to turn it around that quickly, (shoring) is probably not money well-invested," Graf said.
Detour signs are posted on county roads to reroute traffic while the bridge is out of service.
Commissioners voted 3-0 to authorize BG Consultants to advertise for bids for reconstruction of the bridge. Funds for the bridge project likely will come from special bridge or special highway improvement funds, Graf said.
In other business, commissioners:
* Were updated on Ellis County Extension happenings by Holly Dickman, Ellis County Extension horticulturist.
* Voted 3-0 to authorize signatures on Kansas Small Cities Community Block Grant application for Rural Water District No. 1C project.
* Approved purchase of a new 2013 IHC7400 water truck bid from Lang Diesel for $72,484 and a 2012 CAT 12M2 motor grader from Foley Equipment Co. for $203,645.
* Discussed vacating unimproved right of way aligning with 230th Avenue between Grants Villa Road and Norfolk Road.
* Tabled approval of the county's comprehensive plan until next week's meeting to allow commissioners more time to study it.