To the editor:
Several letters recently in the Journal-World expressed some dissension and frustration about completely closing the Lecompton bridge. Their anxiety is certainly understandable. Many sacrifices will have to be made, and it will be asking a lot for the kids to have to make a daily 33-mile detoured commute to attend school. Plus, the district's fuel consumption costs will skyrocket.
On the positive side, if the repair work could get started early, and have the bridge closed for just the last two months of school - April and May - it could be open again for the start of the new school year. (Perhaps construction could get started in March so as to offset any work delay). Even under the one-lane-open scheme, the bridge would have to be closed for two months anyway. Unfortunately, then construction would drag on for nearly a year.
As an alternative, the folks should formulate a "pontoon" plan. The school buses could deliver the kids to the river's edge, where a pontoon boat would taxi the students across the narrow stream. The kids could then board waiting buses on the other bank. Would this take coordination? Definitely, and a lot of it. But it would be well worth it, and it would beat the other option, beyond a doubt.
As a major connecting route for the two counties, each time repairs are required, the disruption is going to become greater and greater. It brings into sharp focus the need for a twin bridge, if not now, in the very near future.