Archive for Monday, July 10, 2000

Historic suspension bridge’s life span runs its course

July 10, 2000

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— A Barton County landmark is gone after nearly 70 years.

The suspension bridge that supported a natural gas pipeline across the Arkansas River south of Ellinwood since the early 1930s was taken down by construction workers on Thursday.

The 450-foot bridge carried a 26-inch-diameter steel pipe, said Rudy Grapper, construction inspector for Northern Natural Gas Co., a division of Enron. It was part of a pipeline construction project started in the late 1920s that moved gas from Texas to Minnesota and Wisconsin.

"It was quite a project back then," Grapper said. "They used horses and handwork."

Removing the bridge took most of the day Thursday. Two 50-ton cranes and one 100-ton crane were brought in to lift and pull the pipeline off the bridge. Then the cables and the bridge itself came down.

The pipe will be cut to be hauled and taken to storage, Grapper said.

The suspension bridge outlived its usefulness. Today, directional drills can place pipeline under rivers, Grapper said.

Two summers ago, the gas company added a new 36-inch line. Now 43 miles of pipe from Macksville to Bushton are coming out.

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