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Historic bridge research leads underground
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County Engineer Clark Rusco and his staff are hip-deep in history these days. Maybe deeper.
Working on the restoration of the county’s historic stone bridges, constructed as part of the WPA project, Rusco reported this week that he’s found a plethora of information.
He’s been researching details of the construction of the stone bridges and that took staff down into the salt mines near Hutchinson where county historic records are maintained.
They had to go through a lot to find what they were looking for, County Administrator Richard Boeckman explained. “There are 17 boxes of documents in his office right now,” the county administrator said earlier this week.
Rusco was looking for the standards that were used in the original construction plans and it’s a laborious effort. “We still have about five boxes to go through,” he said earlier this week.
However the search has been effective, he added.
Rusco noted that original blueprints for some of the construction had been located.
“The information that is especially needed is the foundation construction for the stone structures. Original information is vital to the rehabilitation project,” Rusco reported.
Rusco reported earlier, “the bridges, clustered in the Claflin area, require the repair of damaged stones, replacing failed or missing stones, resetting displaced stones and removing and replacing grout.” There are eight of the bridges. The Works Project Administration bridges were constructed in the early 1940s and continue in use, though they have suffered from disrepair over the years.