High waters cause bridge closure, road project problems

Chad Frey
The Kansan
Harvey County

Harvey County closed a bridge on SW 84th just east Emma Creek after a high-water event led to the washing away of a pier that supports the bridge. 

"I am glad we caught this," said Chip Westfall, chair of the Harvey County Commission.  "I went out and visited ... It will take some extensive repair, or demolitoin and repair," 

The bridge was closed May 28. Located northwest of Sedgwick, the bridge was rated for three tons. It is constructed mostly of wood. 

During a high water event fueled by rains in McPherson and Marion Counties a supporting pier of the bridge was washed away. 

"When the water was high, we had a call from an individual who said 'you need to come look at this bridge,'" said Anthony Swartzendruber, Harvey County Commissioner. "The deck [was] very clearly swagging. It dips where the pier is missing, which is expected."

The county indicated June 1 that the closure of the bridge is most likely permanent. 

"Based on the fact that it has been repaired previously and it is a wood structure," Swartzendruber said. "It is a long structure, so replacement is not going to be a an inexpensive option"

The county engineering firm is expected to inspect the bridge and give estimates of repair.  

High waters also caused a problem for a project to seal Dutch Avenue and  Ridge Road. 

"We had an area that they put the seal down on on Ridge [Road] and about 18 hours later it was under water," Swartzendruber said. "[We will be working] with the contractor to see if that damaged the product and if so if we need to do an addition to that contract. It would not be the contractor's fault that it flooded. We want to be sure that can be corrected."