Bid approved for U.S. 75 pedestrian bridge

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced last week that a bid had been approved for replacement of the abandoned Missouri Pacific railroad bridge north of the U.S. Highway 75 and state Highway 268 intersection.

The winning bid of $887,364.64 was submitted by T. L. Enterprises, Inc., Garnett. Bid letting was held March 24 for the bridge replacement and about 20 transportation projects around the state.

In the Osage County project, the old 90-foot-long railroad bridge will be removed and replaced with a 12-foot-wide, 186-foot-long pedestrian bridge. The U.S. 75 driving lanes under the bridge, and for approximately 350 feet on either side of the bridge, will be reconstructed to include 10-foot shoulders. The slopes underneath the bridge will be cut back to provide better sight distance for drivers, according to KDOT officials.

“The project will begin construction in mid to late spring and is tentatively scheduled to be completed by late summer 2010, weather permitting,” Kimberly Qualls, KDOT’s northeast Kansas public affairs manager, said Monday.

The bridge is part of the rail-banked Missouri Pacific line, portions of which are being developed by the Kanza Rails to Trails Conservancy (KRTC) as hiking, biking and horseback trails. As proposed by KRTC, the bridge will provide access over the highway for trail users heading west toward Osage City once the trail is developed further.

Local and state officials had complained the old bridge created a safety hazard for oversize loads on U.S. 75 and impeded commerce.

KDOT announced last year that approximately $2 million in federal stimulus, or American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, funds were secured for the project. The project was included as a federal transportation enhancement project.