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Pottawatomie County Commission approves bridge repair contract

By The Mercury

Pottawatomie County commissioners agreed Monday to contract with a California firm to determine the load capacity of a new county bridge damaged by fire late last year.

And the high-tech testing will cost only $5,000––a fraction of the original estimate of $25,000 to $30,000––since the company wants to use the bridge to demonstrate its wares for a conference scheduled for later this year at Manhattan.

The Neuchatel Bridge in the northeast portion of the county was completed in September and damaged in December by two separate bonfires built on its deck.

Leu Lowrey, public works director, told commissioners that core testing of the concrete on the bridge was conducted recently by the Kansas Department of Transportation, but the fires may have also weakened the reinforcing steel of the structure.

Consequently, Lowrey said he is uncertain what weight limit signage to place on the bridge.

“I think it’s a great opportunity, even though it still costs $5,000,” Lowrey said of the testing.

Commissioners said the fires probably shortened the life of the new bridge and further testing may give them an idea how much.

“If we ever catch the people who did it, we’ll have a pretty good idea of the damage,” said Commissioner Gary Yenzer.

In other business Monday, the commission:

• Authorized the temporary closure of Dyer Road south of Rocky Ford for a running event to benefit Parkinson’s Disease scheduled for August 24.

• Approved an “island annexation” request by the city of Olsburg.

Bernard Irvine, Olsburg city attorney, said the community discovered recently that the city park to the west of the city is not within the city limits. The park and the city boundary are separated by a cemetery, also outside the city limits.

• Received the following bids for the county’s annual asphalt overlay projects: Bettis Asphalt, Topeka, $667,766; and Shilling Construction, Manhattan, $561,631. The engineer’s estimate for the projects was $719,664.

Lowrey said he would review the bids and make a recommendation later to the commission.

• Authorized Robert Reese, county administrator, and John Watt, county counselor, to begin negotiations with Community Hospital, Onaga, for an ambulance station at Onaga.

The action came following an executive session for a preliminary discussion on possible acquisition of real estate.

• Approved the request of Christine Coates for a second entrance to her family’s property at 3537 Alicia Circle near St. George.

Coates said the second entrance would provide easy access to a pole barn they plan to build on the property.

Commissioners agreed to the deviation in policy since the property is located on a low-traffic cul-de-sac.









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