Archive for Monday, July 30, 2007

Bridge completion will bring celebration

July 30, 2007


Workers for A.M. Cohron & Son Inc. work on schedule to get the bridge over the Kansas River complete by Aug. 10. Crews baked under the sun on Friday.

Workers for A.M. Cohron & Son Inc. work on schedule to get the bridge over the Kansas River complete by Aug. 10. Crews baked under the sun on Friday.

Lecompton and Perry residents will be ready to celebrate when the nearby Kansas River bridge reopens in a couple of weeks.

The bridge that links the two communities was closed in March for reconstruction of the surface deck. The closing turned a five-minute commute between the two towns into an approximately 30-minute detour through Lawrence or Topeka. It affected school bus routes and business in both towns.

"It's unbelievable how that has interrupted life," Perry resident Sharon Porter said.

So far, Douglas County engineer Keith Browning said the construction should be done by the Aug. 10 deadline that the county set.

And the celebrations will begin almost immediately. A covered-dish dinner is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Perry American Legion hall. The legion and its women's auxiliary are sponsors. The dinner will be open to anyone in the communities, said Porter, the auxiliary president.

"Just bring your covered dish and your smiley face; you don't have to be a member," Porter said. "We'll have the table sets and the drinks."

A week later, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony and party in Lecompton. The ceremony is set for 6:20 p.m. Aug. 17 on the bridge.

"We're only going to close it for about 10 minutes or long enough to get the ribbon cut," Brenda Hastert, an event organizer, said.

Lecompton Mayor Roy Paslay and Perry Mayor Mike Lang will be invited to cut the ribbon. Hastert said they plan to invite Douglas and Jefferson county commissioners. Douglas County commissioners made the controversial decision to close the entire bridge for repairs, while Jefferson County commissioners initially opposed the closing but later supported it. When the decision was made a year ago, a majority of the residents urged them to keep at least one lane open.

After the ribbon cutting, there will be food and live music at the ballfield in Lecompton, Hastert said.

"It will just be a big celebration," she said. "I think if the weather is nice, there will be a big turnout. Everybody is very anxious for the bridge to open."

A.M. Cohron & Son Inc. is doing the work. The company was offered tens of thousands of dollars to finish ahead of schedule. But in May, the Kansas River flooded and water engulfed the firm's equipment and slowed down the project, making an early finish unlikely.

Browning said there were no plans for any celebration at the moment workers finish the bridge.

"We're just going to open it and go have a good weekend," he said.


KS 10 years, 9 months ago

Like childbirth, the pain of this closing will be soon forgotten. Glad to know the end is near.

Joe Hyde 10 years, 9 months ago

Unknown how the payments are being made to the contractor doing this bridge job. But I suggest the final payment be withheld until the contractor sends a cleanup team downstream to retrieve all of the white foam strips that the work crew has been throwing off the bridge into the river.

Some of these foam strips are encased in the form of bundles held together by what looks like shrink wrap. Other strips have broken free of the bundles. Being white in color, the strips are a significant eyesore. And being foam, they will pollute the stream environment for many years before breaking down.

A newly repaired bridge is nice, and like many others I am grateful to the company and crew members who are doing this work. However, there is no good reason for the company to leave the downstream river channel looking like a city dump.

Fishers and hunters, canoeists, kayakers and rafters, powerboaters -- we all would greatly appreciate this mess getting picked up by the company that made it.

tweetybird2 10 years, 9 months ago

This bridge being closed will not ever be forgotten. I hear stories about when they closed the old bridge to build this one. This will be a story told for many, many years.

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