Commission approves bridge construction

On Monday, the Marion County Commission approved $45,390 in immediate emergency construction for the bridge over the Cottonwood River going into Marion Reservoir at Durham Cove on Kanza Road.

Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford said he had to close the highly traveled blacktop road south of 260th because the rain-swollen river washed out heavy supporting stones underneath for approximately eight feet of the bridge surface.

Middle Creek Mining at Peabody gave such a conservative bid for the project, Crawford said, that he had to double-check with the company to make sure the bid included re-constructing stone-work under both sides of the bridge.

The commissioners said they were pleased with the quick response of the company to begin locating equipment and building on the bridge this week to correct what they feel is a major commuting route for the public.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said a Wichita television station apparently was negligent in attempting to cover the county?s road situation with a newscaster saying the commissioners did not return requests for comment when the attempt to reach them was at 4 p.m. on a Sunday at the courthouse, which was closed.

The message was reiterated when a cameraman for the station returned toward the end of the meeting Monday.

The commissioners noted, in devoting the remainder of the meeting to discussion of ways to correct the road deterioration situation aggravated by heavy rains, that an immediate concern will be for all the school districts to inform road and bridge where bus routes will run this fall.

Commissioner Randy Dallke showed picture slides of a gravel road in the southern part of the county where flowing water washed out segments of the side-ditch and roadway, creating dangerous holes for motorists.

There were washed-out culverts and road signs flattened to the top of a culvert.

Even on 190th where the Kansas Department of Transportation turned over a highly maintained former U.S. Highway 56, Crawford said in the future the county may want to rebuild road access to a bridge over a curve in the river to avoid the river washing out the road sometime in the future.

Commissioner Lori Lalouette said the public meeting last Monday night and recent commission meetings have illustrated the commission?s need for public cooperation even though members of the public sometimes don?t understand the total roads situation.

The commissioners considered adding as many as three temporary experienced road and bridge crew members to boost road building for the rest of this summer and fall.

They said they will be making announcements of steps to be done at the Friday payday meeting.