Archive for Thursday, August 31, 2006

Douglas County commissioners may close bridge without Jefferson County’s help

August 31, 2006


Douglas County commissioners are willing to go ahead and close the Lecompton bridge for repairs next year without Jefferson County's help in paying for the cost, if necessary.

Although no formal decision was made during Wednesday night's Douglas County Commission meeting, those were the intentions expressed by Commissioners Bob Johnson and Charles Jones.

"If they are not agreeable to that, then I think we should go forward," Johnson said.

Johnson, however, said he wanted to talk with Jefferson County Commissioner David Christy again about the matter before a formal decision is made. Johnson and Christy have talked previously about the bridge impasse, but no compromise has been found.

Douglas County Engineer Keith Browning recently asked the Kansas Department of Transportation how long it would take for that department to study and decide the bridge closure issue and was told it would take up to 60 days.

That could cause delays in scheduling repair work in time to be started next year. If the project does not start next year, temporary repairs would have to be made because of the deteriorating condition of the bridge, Browning said.

Earlier this summer, Johnson and Jones voted to close the bridge for repairs while Jefferson County Commissioners Christy and Lynn Luck voted to keep one lane open.

Even if the two counties do share the cost of the repairs, Douglas County would still be paying nearly 90 percent of the cost. If the bridge is closed, the total cost could be as high as $3.5 million.

Johnson said he hoped a formal decision about the bridge can be made next week. He said he had no reason to believe Jefferson County wouldn't go ahead and help pay for the project.

On an unrelated matter, Douglas County commissioners approved an agreement with the city of Lawrence that outlines city-county responsibilities for constructing sewer improvements in benefit districts south of Kansas Highway 10 and east of East 1600 Road.


psjnk 11 years, 9 months ago

What if all the Lecompton & Perry people that need to use the bridge, use 6th street instead of the highway, so they don't have to pay the toll - I think that the lovely Lawrence people will be very happy with the commissioners on their great idea to close the bridge. But hey we don't count since there are just a few of us and Douglas County does just what it wants With the bridge down all the busses which are stationed in Perry will have to go either to Lawrence or Topeka and then come through Lecompton then back to Perry twice a day. Parents or students who drive will have to make the round trip every day. Will Douglas County help with that cost? If the students stop driving and take the bus to save on their expenses the busses will be even more over crowded.

Robin Smart 11 years, 9 months ago

how long is it going to take to do the repairs on the bridge? why not schedule it for the summer months?

mztrendy 11 years, 9 months ago

so, let me get this straight... Doug county and Jeff county can't agree, so DG county is willing to pay it all so they can close it completely. So they are taking responsibility for the 11% Jeff county was going to pay. So are they really saving money by closing both lanes at the same time as opposed to 1 lane at a time with the help of Jefferson County money? So all of you DG county citizens that were against the one lane at a time idea because of more tax dollars, how does this make you feel knowing that you are going to be paying for the whole bridge construction? And, I'm not 100% here, but I do believe the county line is right in the middle of that bridge. How does that work?

BikerGrandma 11 years, 9 months ago

Well, once again the big boys in Douglas County are throwing their weight around and getting their way. The real reason they don't want KDOT to decide the issue is because KDOT rarely, if ever, closes a bridge down completely for repairs/reconstruction. That means that the good ol' boys in Douglas County would not have a say in the bridge closure. Yes, I live in Douglas County - so I'm guessing that if we have to foot the entire bill, my taxes will go up - again! I hope that everyone remembers this at election time and we vote out this current commission (including Mr. McElhaney - who voted the way he did because he knew is fellow commissioners would vote to close) and bring in people that care about not only the city of Lawrence, but the entire county population.

granny 11 years, 9 months ago

Keith Browning - is the bridge "structurally unsafe" or is it just needing new surface? I know you are the one that is responsibile for bridges in Douglas County. The reason I am asking this question is because the 2 bridges that cross over Little and Big Slough are in much worse condition then the Lecompton bridge and there is "no" mention of repairs for either of those bridges.

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