County Commissioners resolve to close bridge by Old Mill Museum

By Nick Gosnell
August 18, 2014

The Board of McPherson County Commissioners approved a resolution to close the bridge by the Old Mill museum to vehicle traffic at Monday morning's meeting. The decision was made because repairing the bridge was cost prohibitive, and the structure is so rusted out that it cannot hold even three tons of weight.

Justin Mader, an engineer with McPherson County, said that it would cost at least two hundred thousand dollars to fix the bridge, and that isn't figuring in the ongoing costs of bridge inspections for the truss-type structure, which would take a more thorough and expensive yearly inspection than is typical of other road bridges in the county.

Concerns were expressed by Theresa Loffer of Lindsborg that the county is cutting off one of the ways out of town to the south and what would happen if the other bridge across the Smoky Hill River down 81 Highway had to be closed for any length of time.

Mader was asked by Mid Kansas Online what it would take to replace the bridge with another easier to maintain type of structure. He estimated that cost at greater than a half-million dollars.

Also, the county commissioners did not have a plan for the ongoing maintenance of the current structure as a walking bridge only, as the road equipment used by the county for their other bridge maintenance is too heavy to go on the Old Mill bridge in its current state.

The resolution to close the bridge passed unanimously, and barricades are being put up this week to facilitate the closure.