Water Well Road from Niles Road to Whitmore Road was reopened late yesterday following completion of the removal by a Saline County Road and Bridge Department crew of overburden from the deck of the bridge over West Gypsum Creek. The bridge is located 0.3 mile east of Niles Road.
This work was done to reduce the dead load on the bridge in accordance with the requirements of a recently completed bridge load rating. The rating was performed by consulting engineers employed under a statewide program which is being overseen by the Kansas Department of Transportation. Following removal of the overburden, the load posting on the bridge was reduced from 15 tons to 3 tons. Three tons is the minimum load capacity acceptable for a bridge to remain open by federal law.
This bridge was scheduled in Saline County’s “Construction Program 2017–2031 for Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, and Maintenance Projects and Reinforced Concrete Box Culvert Projects” for replacement in 2020. This program was developed by the Engineering Division of the Road and Bridge Department and adopted by the Board of County Commissioners to be a “roadmap” for Saline County’s bridge needs for the next fourteen years. The program is meant to be adjusted or revised as critical needs arise. Similar adjustments/revisions have been done in prior years to address critical bridge issues. Saline County will be evaluating whether earlier replacement of this bridge may be warranted.