Gabe Faimon/Herald-Chronicle
Two bridges north of Burlingame are now open after an eight-month repair project.

Gabe Faimon
| Reporter

Frequent travelers between Burlingame and Auburn breathed a collective sigh of relief last week, after following detours for months during a bridge repair project.

Direct travel between the two towns resumed the afternoon of Aug. 4, when Shawnee County Public Works removed construction barriers that had restricted traffic flow. Completion of two replacement bridges south of Auburn, one over the Wakarusa River and the other over the north branch of the Wakarusa River, eliminated the need for a circuitous detour route that had been used for nearly eight months.

According to Thomas Flanagan, deputy director of Shawnee County Public Works, the new bridge over the Wakarusa River is 200 feet long with roadway 32 feet wide. Its predecessor was 170 feet long with 26 feet for roadway. Project costs totaled $776,069, with $547,744 secured from the Federal Highway Administration and $228,325 from Shawnee County sales tax.

Flanagan said the new bridge over the north branch of the river is 130 long, also with a 32-foot wide roadway. It replaced two concrete box culverts that spanned a total of 40 feet, each with roadway 26 feet wide. Project cost for the smaller bridge totaled $425,902, funded solely by Shawnee County sales tax.

The two demolished bridges were built in 1948 as part of preparation for construction of the Kansas Turnpike.

Contractor for the bridge over the Wakarusa River was Bryan-Ohlmeier, Paola. Midwest Construction Co., Inc., Holton, was the contractor for the bridge over the north branch of the river.