Property owners ask for new bridge

Staff reporter

The increased weight of trucks caused by agricultural production may come at a pretty hefty cost for Marion County.

Like many bridges in the county, a bridge on Clover Road may be at the end of its usefulness.

This bridge is used for a cattle and grain operation with truck weighing in excess of 80,000 pounds.

Jim, Tim, and Andrew Donahue and their attorney, Chris Costello, addressed Marion County Commission Monday regarding the bridge.

The bridge is designed for no more than 15,000 pounds of weight, is narrow, and curves.

Pictures were shown of a person having to walk on the bridge and help the driver of a semi negotiate the bridge.

"We're here today to find out what we can do to get a bridge put in that will support traffic and agricultural operation," Costello said.

It was noted by Costello that a bridge was constructed nearby which is larger and wider but on a road with little traffic.

The county has annual bridge inspections conducted by engineer Milton Lowmaster of Cook, Flatt, & Strobel of Wichita. The bridges then are rated as far as which ones need immediate attention and others that will need attention in the coming years. Typically traffic count does not factor in when determining whether a bridge should be repaired. The bridges in need of immediate attention are at the top of the list.

Tim Donahue commented there were four cattle trucks that drove on the bridge this past week.

Commissioner Dan Holub asked if there was anything the county could do to reinforce the bridge, etc., instead of replacing it.

Jim Donahue responded that cattle trucks don't have two inches to spare around the curves. He continued that the bridge should have been built straight instead of curved.

Costello asked the commission if there was a bridge priority list. Acting commission chairman Bob Hein said that was what Lowmaster does for the county.

Acting county public works director John Summerville was instructed by Hein and Holub to contact Lowmaster for information. The commission will schedule a time to view the bridge when commission chairman Randy Dallke is in attendance.