Bethesda Home gets new bridge

Todd Jost of Jost Welding in Hillsboro designed, built and installed a 7,000 pound bridge over Emma Creek behind Bethesda Home in Goessel. The entire process took over eight months to complete but will last for years to come.
Jost Welding of Hillsboro designed and built a 3 and ½ ton bridge that was installed in Goessel behind Bethesda Home on Friday, Jan. 13. The bridge was driven over by Vernon Hiebert who was one of the donors who helped get fund the project.
The maintenance crew of Bethesda Home and Todd Jost of Jost Welding in Hillsboro worked together to lift the bridge, maneuver it into place and secure it so that it would be safe and secure. The 7,000 pound galvanized steel bridge is now firmly in place and will be secure for decades to come.
Todd Jost of Jost Welding in Hillsboro spent four weeks designing the bridge and built in the Bethesda Home logo of holding hands. It took two months to build the bridge.
Bethesda Home in Goessel had to pour concrete before Jost Welding in Hillsboro could even begin to build the bridge since precise measurements were required for building. Inclement weather prevented the concrete from being poured for months which delayed the whole project. Once the bridge was built and ready to be installed, it was secured into the concrete where it will stay for decades.

When Bethesda Home in Goessel approached Todd Jost of Jost Welding several years ago about repairing the bridge behind their place, he turned them down since the bridge was wood and he only works with metal.

“A big rain had come and pushed their bridge off its piers so I gave them what I thought were some good pointers on how to get it back on and secure it better,” said Jost. “Then they came back and wanted me to replace it, but the cost for materials alone was just too much for them.”

But last year, they approached Jost again since they were able to make the project happen finally.

“We were blessed to have Bethesda campus residents, Lloyd and Marlene Voth and Vernon and Clara Hiebert give of their resources to make this happen,” said Bethesda Homes CEO Sara Hiebert.

So Jost got started.

“It took me four weeks to design it. I redesigned it several times until I was satisfied. Part of that was that I have always wanted to build a bridge so when I get a chance to build one, it ought to be a cool one,” said Jost.

Jost said while it’s not the largest piece he has ever done, it is the largest single piece he has done that is welded together as a whole.

“It has been part of my dreams and nightmares since May. We started it in May and there was a window where I thought we could set it in June or July but then we had a bunch of rain in the spring which resulted in them not being able to get the piers or abutments which the bridge sits on poured and until they could get those poured, I couldn’t measure to get the final dimensions,” said Jost.

This caused an issue with the forms for the design so Jost had to redesign it all again. He was finally able to start building on it in the beginning of November, and then he finished in December.

The 50-foot, almost 7,000 pound bridge then sat waiting in line in Salina where it was finally dipped into a vat of liquid zinc to be galvanized so that it won’t rust. It was black when it went in and then came out silver two coats later.

“I don’t think any of us living today will be around when that thing rusts out,” Jost said. “It will be there for a long time.”

It was completed with the galvanization process on Thursday, Jan. 12.

The bridge made its way to Emma Creek behind Bethesda Home on Friday, Jan. 13. Jost not only designed and made the bridge, but he helped set it into its location.

He said, “I think it was fun for everybody else getting it into place, but it was a little nerve-wracking for me. It’s dangerous. Something about a three and a half ton object swinging on a chain with people walking around under it is scary. The Bethesda Home maintenance staff and grounds crew did a phenomenal job and it was good getting to know them.”

Jost explained that in addition to lifting the bridge off the trailer and setting it into place, the group had to bolt the bridge in place, put on guardrails, bolt them in and make adjustments. The whole bridge was set into place by 11:30 a.m. but he and his wife stuck around the rest of the day Friday and part of Saturday making sure it was all bolted in and secure.

“We are beyond excited to finally have it here. This project has been in the works for over a year and a half and so to see it now on the Bethesda Campus is like a dream come true,” said Sara Hiebert. “This bridge is an essential component of connecting our main campus to our Emma Creek Meadows campus; allowing for each Bethesda member to access services as well as fully utilize the walking path. This bridge will benefit the whole community.”

Bethesda Home will be having a dedication in the coming months when it is warmer.

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