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Additional work to Radium Bridge OKed
Need for repairs found under asphalt layer
new deh county commission bridge repair pic web
Shown is the Bridge on SW 50 Avenue that is under repair. - photo by Tribune file photo

In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:

• Approved the purchase of new rotary mowers for the Road and Bridge Department. The department solicited bids to replace three mowers. Specifications included 15-foot flex-wing rotary cutters, 25-50 horsepower and a self-leveling hitch. Three bids were received. County Works Director Darren Williams recommended the $31,500 bid from BTI Great Bend. This involves purchasing three John Deere mowers with a trade of three Rhino Epic model 4155 mowers. The units have a five-year warranty and will be delivered two weeks from the date of order.   

 In June, the Barton County Commission approved L&M Contractors of Great Bend performing long-needed repairs to a bridge over the Arkansas River southwest of Great Bend. However, as this project reached the half-way point, additional problems were discovered, County Engineer Barry McManaman told the County Commission Monday morning.

After completing the concrete bridge deck patching work on south-bound lane of the bridge along SW 50 Avenue, the Radium Road, it is estimated that another 278 square yards of patching was required, McManaman said. The extra patching is needed due to hollow spots that were unknown to county officials at the outset. 

These were found as chains were dragged across the bridge and echoes were heard, he said. They were hidden under the original layer of asphalt covering the bridge that was milled off during the project.

The county will also need to have structural steel welded to the expansion devices to protect both bridge ends. This involves the steel expansion joints and will also smooth out the approaches for motorists.

The estimated cost of this work totals $54,340.55. However, if less than the 278 square yards of additional material is needed, McManaman said the county will not be billed for the full amount.

Money for the work will come from the county’s Special Bridge Fund ($12,000) and Federal Funds Exchange program money in the regular Road and Bridge Department budget ($42,340.55).

McManaman was asked if contractors build extra funding in their bids to cover such contingencies. He said that is not normally the case, adding it is not uncommon for such additional expenses to arise. 

Work started on the bridge in late August. The project was approved on June 26.

The commission accepted the initial low bid from L&M Contractors of Great Bend for $398,945. The project consisted of concrete patching of the bridge deck followed by a concrete overlay that will create a new wearing surface. 

The bridge remains open, but McManaman said only one lane is open at a time. There is a 10-foot width limit for vehicles crossing the bridge.

The contractors had 90 working days to complete the repairs, meaning it would likely take about four or five months. However, this change may require L&M to seek an extension.