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Radium Bridge open
Work completed far ahead of the schedule
new deh radium Bridge 2.tif
Barton County Road and Bridge Department employees remove barricades on the Radium Bridge Tuesday afternoon. Work on the bridge was completed sooner than anticipated and it should be open today. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

It’s done.

On Monday, County Administrator Richard Boeckman was excited because the work on the Radium Road bridge was moving ahead so far earlier than the schedule originally called for, and even that good expectation sped up as the work progressed.

Late Tuesday, County Engineer Clark Rusco reported that the bridge would be open to traffic today — significantly ahead of the schedule that was hoped for a month ago.

Rusco said the specialized equipment that L&M Contractors brought in to get the damaged pins out of the bridge worked even better than was hoped, and the work sped ahead of what was expected.

The contractors used railroad ties to shore up part of the sagging bridge decking to allow some of the pins to be pulled, and they used a crane to lift the rest of the structure.

When it came to drilling out the damaged pins, the work progressed much better than anyone had hoped for, the county engineer reported.

"They stated this morning at 8," Rusco said late Tuesday, adding the pin work was completed by the end of the afternoon.

The Road and Bridge Department crews were at the bridge, removing barricade material, and holes in the deck, used to allow the crane to lift the deck, were being repaired.

Everyone involved in the process had been concerned that getting the damaged pins removed would be a much more difficult process. This was the older of the two pin-and-hangar bridges that need repair work in Barton County. So it was expected that the pins could be especially difficult to remove from the Radium bridge, but Rusco said that was not the case.

With this first step out of the way, L&M Contractors is preparing to get started on the next step and it anticipates starting work on the Ellinwood bridge next week, Rusco reported.