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County projects move forward
new deh county bridge pic
The effort to replace this bridge east of Great Bend with a new style of bridge is progressing. - photo by Tribune file photo

 The building of a bridge utilizing a new method of construction took a step closer to becoming a reality Monday morning.

The Barton County approved an agreement with Terracon Consulting Engineers of Wichita for a geology report relating to the installation of a geosynthetic reinforced soil integrated bridge system. Barton County plans on replacing Bridge 200, located 2.7 miles east of Great Bend using the system. 

Simply put, a GRS bridge system takes less time and money to install as the bridge is placed directly on a substructure, creating a seamless and smooth transition between bridge and the approach.

Rather than drilling a deep foundation and using steel pilings, the reinforced soil method builds up layers of compressed concrete blocks separated by a membrane of high-tech synthetic fabric. Once these are done, the bridge deck is lowered into place.

But, prior to that work taking place, the engineering firm of Kirkham-Michael recommended that Terracon be hired to take core samples, County Engineer Barry McManaman said. This will determine the load-bearing capability of the soil.

McManaman said this will become the first geosynthetic reinforced soil bridge in the State of Kansas. The commission approved this project in November 2014.

He said the project will go out for bids in October.

“This is a new process,” he said. “We will see how it plays out.”

Scenic overlook

Also moving along is the Cheyenne Bottoms scenic overlook east of Hoisington on K-4.

For several years, the county has been partnered with the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to make improvements to the site. Under the construction inspection agreement approved by the Barton County Commission Monday morning, McManaman and Engineering Technician Darren Williams will provide construction inspection services for a grading and paving project, and the tower construction project. In turn, KDOT will reimburse the County for 80 percent of the work.

The project includes a 10-foot timber viewing tower accessed by a series of handicapped- accessible ramps. In addition, there will be a paved sidewalk leading to the site from the current site of the information kiosk and parking lot, which will also be paved.

For bidding purposes, both projects were combined and bids went out two weeks ago, McManaman said. However, KDOT is still looking at the bids and has not approved a bid yet.

“We should see work starting next couple months,” he said, He expects the overlook improvements to be done before winter.


New trucks

The commission also approved the purchase of two pickups for the Road and Bridge Department from Marmie Ford of Great Bend for a total of $58,499. The department is operating with a 1998 Chevy F1500 two-wheel drive with 186,889 miles and a 1998 Chevy F2500 Extended Cab with 150,197 miles. It is believed that both vehicles have reached the end of their useful life. 

As a result, the department accepted bids for replacement. The bid was to include a new 4X4, crew cab, three-quarter-ton cab and chassis, one with and one without a standard bed, Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips said.

In a related matter, the commission also approved the purchase of a Pronghorn bed installed by BS Trailer Sales of Dodge City. The cost of the bed, with installation, is $5,750, Phillips said.