A weakened bridge on Goldenrod Rd. between 160th and 170th Rds. will remain open for the time being after county commissioners relented Monday on a plan to close it.
Commissioners were looking to trim upcoming bridge inspection costs when they examined three bridges a month ago. All three are on the state’s critical list, making inspection more costly.
Because of the metal bridge’s condition, with exposed rebar and damaged concrete footings, commissioners voted to begin closure, which would have saved $2,500 in inspection cost.
But after publishing an official notice of their intent, as required by law, commissioners heard from four people who own or rent property near the bridge.
Cal Jost, Gerald Jost, and Marty Dalke spoke during a hearing Monday.
Commissioners also reviewed a letter from Rosalie Neufeld, owner of land on Goldenrod, some of which is rented to Rod Peters.
The neighbors said they used the bridge to get farm equipment and trucks to their property.
Dalke asked whether neglect had caused the bridge to reach its present condition.
Neufeld’s letter stated no other reliable access existed to fields south of the South Cottonwood River.
“Closing Bridge 145 would cut our farm in half, requiring a detour of four miles to get to the second area,” Neufeld wrote.
If the bridge is closed, she said, the county should repair a low-water bridge north of 160th so it will be passable.
“With flooding, water runs north on Goldenrod as well as following the creek east of Goldenrod. Mud on either side of the crossing creates a problem for much of the year for anything less than a four-wheel-drive vehicle,” she wrote.
Commissioner Lori Lalouette said she had researched using boxcars to provide bridge support and that it might be a less costly alternative.
Ultimately, commissioners voted unanimously to have the bridge inspected one more time to see what it would take to fix it – if it can be fixed.