County to consider KDOT bid approval for Hackney bridge demolition, replacement

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Updated: 1:44 p.m.

Cowley County commissioners will consider the approval of a contractor Tuesday for the Hackney bridge project just east of Strother Field off U.S. 77 on 222nd Road between Ark City and Winfield.

According to County Administrator Lucas Goff, the Kansas Department of Transportation bid out work for demolition of the existing 1936 bridge and construction for a replacement.

Reece Construction Company, Inc., out of Salina, came in with the low bid at $3,053,946.00.

Federal grant funds funneled through the state will cover approximately $1 million of the cost. The county will be responsible for just over $2 million.

The grant funding is made possible by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It was signed by President Joe Biden and received just one Kansas vote in Congress via Rep. Sharice Davids, a Roeland Park Democrat.

Republicans Jake LaTurner of Topeka and Tracey Mann of Salina voted against, as did Ron Estes, whose district includes Wichita and the Cowley County area.

In the U.S. Senate, Kansas Senators Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall, both Republicans, voted against.

Overall, eight Republicans joined all 200 Democrats in passing the infrastructure bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, while 19 Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in the Senate.

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The bridge has been closed since late April 2019. MKEC Engineering Services, a firm contracted by the county, then recommended to commissioners that the bridge should either be demolished or substantially renovated.

“I spent a significant time for an on-site review of this structure last Friday afternoon,” MKEC Senior Principal Transportation Project Manager Karl Svaty wrote Goff in an email a few days before the bridge was closed. “The feature that was the most noticeable to me was the change in size of the hole at the NW corner of the structure. I looked at this last January and it seemed to be about eight to ten inches in diameter. It is now much large then that. The rate of expansion is quite surprising.”

Hackney Bridge.

In the email, Svaty also noted several other areas of concern, including emerging concrete failures and severe corrosion on beams. Some of the corrosion is so significant — primarily on the bridge’s west side — Svaty described cases where holes were emerging.

At the time, Svaty estimated demolition alone will cost $352K. Repair will cost $477K and a complete bridge replacement will cost $1.79 million.

Svaty also told commissioners in 2019 that because the bridge spans over an active BSNF railroad line, the county would have direct involvement with the railroad with design and construction.

“Congratulations to Cowley County for submitting a successful application and securing local matching funds for a bridge project that is critical to the community’s success,” Governor Laura Kelly stated in a December 2020 news release from her office on the project. “Improving the overall transportation system across our state is integral to our economic recovery, and an important step forward as we work to invest in and rebuild our state’s foundation.”

Cowley County Commission Chairman Wayne Wilt was also quoted in the governor’s news release.

“I was excited we were selected to receive funds for KDOT’S Local Bridge Improvement Program,” Wilt said at the time. “This bridge is important for people of southern Cowley County to get to our landfill and the people of eastern Cowley County to get to work at Strother Field.”

Commissioners will meet Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. in the Community Corrections Room at 320 E. 9th Avenue across the Cowley County Courthouse in Winfield.

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