Fires reported on new bridge in Pottawatomie County

By The Mercury

A newly constructed bridge in northeast Pottawatomie County was damaged last month by two separate bonfires built on the bridge’s deck.

Leu Lowrey, public works director, reported the damage Monday during the regular meeting of the Pottawatomie County Commission.

Lowrey said an area of concrete about eight-by-eight feet was damaged by the initial fire, with a subsequent fire damaging another area of the bridge.

The new bridge, completed and opened in September, is located on Neuchatel Road, about 4.5 miles north of Highway 16, and just northeast of Duluth.

“If the first one wasn’t bad enough, they went out the next day and had another bonfire,” Lowrey said, adding that repair of the damage could run in the thousands of dollars.

Commissioners discussed offering a reward for information about the incident, but Lowrey suggested waiting until he had discussed the matter with the sheriff’s department.

“I heard about it and it kind of turned my stomach,” said Commissioner Stan Hartwich. “How could anybody be so stupid?”

Contacted Monday afternoon, Sheriff Greg Riat said the first fire is thought to have occurred December 22, and the second sometime prior to December 27.

According to Riat, a reward in an unspecified amount is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Eric Green with the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Department, 785-457-3353.

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