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County to seek bids for Red Willow bridge

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

McCOOK, Nebraska - Red Willow County, Nebraska, commissioners will advertise for bids to build a new bridge over Red Willow Creek north of the former Republican Valley Junior/Senior High School between McCook and Indianola.

Commissioners will open bids for a new bridge -- a 50-foot bridge with a steel substructure and a concrete deck -- in July, after they begin work on the county's 2011-12 budget. They'd like work to begin in August.

Lance Harter, an engineer for Miller and Associates, McCook, told commissioners that he has studied hydraulic models and visited the bridge site, and that a 50-foot single-span steel bridge is a happy medium between the 81-foot precast concrete bridge and the twin culverts explained by fellow engineer Stan Johnson at a commissioners' meeting June 6.

Harter refined Johnson's estimates and said that a 50-foot bridge could cost $175,000-225,000 and the culverts could cost $130,000-175,000.

Commissioner Steve Downer, in whose district the bridge is located, said he prefers a bridge over twin culverts to replace the existing wooden bridge. He said he is concerned with dead wood and debris upstream blocking culverts, and that although the culverts may be less expensive, the county would still have to hire/rent the big equipment -- cranes, track-hoes -- to do the demolition and installation.

Cost-wise, culverts would not be an advantage considering their life span and the labor and cost to continually clean them out, Downer said,

Downer said that the creek channel doesn't always hold the flow of water, but that won't be a problem with a 50-foot bridge.

Commission chairman Earl McNutt asked Harter to visit with the county's roads superintendent, Lloyd Smith with Niobrara Valley Consultants of Valentine to write specs for bids for the 50-foot bridge.

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