With bid opening set for March 17, constructing a bridge over an ancient channel of the Neosho River near the Allen-Neosho counties line on old U.S. 169 remains Allen County’s top priority road project.
Commissioners reviewed a five-year bridge plan Tuesday morning. Only two others are listed for immediate consideration, an old iron bridge on Utah Road half a mile south and a mile west of Geneva, and a similar iron bridge over Owl Creek, 3.4 miles west of Humboldt.
Altogether Allen County has 215 bridges 20 feet or more in length. All are inspected periodically and each year the bridge plan is updated. In previous years as many as two bridges were replaced in a single year.
Bill King, director of Public Works, told commissioners the work planned this year would cost $1.023 million, with the county’s responsibility totaling $300,000. Kansas Department of Transportation is providing the bulk of the funding.
“We’ve been able to take advantage of about $250,000 in (KDOT) money in previous years, but that has dwindled,” he said. With that funding source gone, King said, “it’ll be 2013 at the earliest before we can think about the Geneva bridge, maybe 2014 or 2015.”
Lesser structures, referred to as box bridges, are built and rebuilt every year, strictly with county funds.
Bid opening for the Allen-Neosho counties line bridge will be in Topeka; KDOT will decide the contractor.
King anticipates construction to start in June or July and take as long as nine months. The road will be closed during construction.
Along with the bridge, a road that leads into nearby river bottom fields will be rebuilt. King said it would be moved to the south and that its incline would be made more gentle.
THE RESCUE unit owned by Allen County and operated by Iola firefighters will respond to all injury accidents in the county exclusive of Humboldt. Humboldt volunteer firefighters, who also have extraction equipment, will continue to respond when an injury accident occurs there.
Sheriff Tom Williams told Allen County commissioners Tuesday that was the unanimous decision of the 911 Advisory Board. The protocol will simplify and quicken dispatchers’ responses when a severe accident is reported, Williams said.
“As it has been, they’ve had to try to figure out who they should call,” he said.
Pam Beasley, Emergency Management Services director, told commissioners she was developing mutual aid agreements with industries throughout the county.
“That way we know what resources they have and how they fit together with what we have,” Beasley said.
CONTINUING review of bids from last week’s meeting, commissioners selected a Bobcat skid steer loader from KC Bobcat, Olathe, for just under $35,000. The decision weighed heavily on county employees’ preference. Also bidding were three Iola implement dealers: Storrer Implement with a Gehl loader for $37,737; O’Malley Equipment offering two John Deere loaders for $35,000 and $37,000; and J&W Equipment with a Case loader for $42,400.
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