Red Willow County commissioners, at their meeting Monday morning, closed a Marion-area bridge until two steel floor beams can be repaired.
A Nebraska Department of Roads inspection revealed that the bridge, over the Beaver Creek on a county road east of Marion, has two cracked floor beams. The NDOR has instructed that the bridge be closed or traffic weight capacity reduced from 13 tons to three tons until it is repaired.
Commission Chairman Earl McNutt said commissioners dropped a thought a year ago about replacing the bridge, a single-span with a treated timber plank deck, with a culvert when a neighbor protested.
McNutt and fellow commissioners Leigh Hoyt and Steve Downer and county roads superintendent Gary Dicenta discussed welding the two cracked beams. The bridge's floor beams are 18 inches apart.
Following another report from Dicenta, commissioners set a public hearing for Monday, July 27, at 9:30 a.m., to discuss formally vacating the east half of Road 713, a seldom-used county road that goes nowhere and separates two feuding landowners.
Dicenta recommends that the east half of the one-mile road be vacated because it is not used on a regular basis by either Stan Quigley on the north or Phil Bamesberger on the south. Dicenta wrote that the road, "has no bearing on the traffic flow for the general public, is not a mail or school bus route, or the only access to an occupied residence."
He wrote, "It is still my opinion that neither landowner needs this road to access Sections 5 and 8."
A year ago, commissioners mediated a feud between Quigley and Bamesberger, and agreed to keep the road open so that Quigley can access his land with bigger farm machinery. Both landowners were ordered in August to rebuild their fences outside a right-of-way surveyed and marked -- one time only -- by the county, at the county's expense. Dicenta notes in his report, dated June 26, 2009, that Bamesberger has constructed some fencing on the south right-of-way, while Quigley has not built any new fence on the north right-of-way.
At the meeting Monday, Quigley's son, Steve, asked what will serve as property lines if the road is closed. "The section line is the property line," Dicenta told him. When a road is closed/vacation, the right-of-way normally reverts to adjacent existing landowners, he said. Property lines will be written into the vacation documents, Dicenta said, although he strongly recommended to commissioners that they contact County Attorney Paul Wood about the ROW and property lines before the hearing.
McNutt said Monday, "This has been quite an issue to deal with ... it's time to get something done."