Y.C. railroad overpass to reopen soon



October 6, 2015 - 12:00 AM

YATES CENTER — Barring any unforeseen difficulties, motorists can once again make it from Iola to Yates Center in a straight shot sometime late in the day Oct. 16.
With work nearing an end on U.S. 54’s Union Pacific Railroad overpass, crews anticipate reopening the highway to traffic across the span about 1½ miles east of Yates Center.
This week, crews are laying asphalt across the rebuilt bridge, said Darrin Petrowsky, Kansas Department of Transportation engineer.
“And once that’s done, they’ve got several other things they need to get done,” Petrowsky said. “But they’re optimistic they’ll meet the deadline.”
Wade Park, KDOT inspector, said crews from J&J Contractors will be on the scene in the coming days to add guardrails.
“The striping crews are scheduled to be here the evening of Oct. 16,” Park said, the final step before the bridge is open to traffic.
The bridge has been closed since early March, making travel between Iola and Yates Center a headache. The official state detour adds roughly 30 miles (south on U.S. 169 to Chanute, west on K-39 and north on U.S. 75) although local motorists have opted for a shorter — and considerably more dusty — local detour using nearby county roads.
The original bridge was built in 1936 and widened in 1970 as part of a rehabilitation project. KDOT officials briefly put a weight limit on the bridge in 2012 as crews added H-pile beams under the span.
With the old bridge gone and the new weathered steel span bridge in its place — the total project cost about $4.2 million — the span should meet heavy traffic needs for generations to come.
Crews from A.M. Cohron & Son of Atlantic, Iowa, also raised the grade of the bridge and approach ramps in order to improve sight lines for traffic entering the roadway, Petrowsky said.
Even though the bridge will reopen to traffic, crews will remain on site until late November, Park said.
“There’s still a lot to be done,” Park said, such as reseeding grass and adding rock to the span’s embankments.

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