Changes, repairs could be made to Sedgwick County bridges

WICHITA, Kansas – Nearly 20 percent of the 20,000 bridges in the state of Kansas are considered to be structurally deficient.

Nearly 600 bridges are spread out across Sedgwick County.

Wednesday morning, Sedgwick County Commissioners met to discuss weight restrictions for all bridges in the county and identify the ones that aren’t up to par.

County Commissioner Jim Skelton says that according to engineering standards used to rate the quality of a bridge, that anything below a rating of 70 is considered sub-standard.

During the meeting, he urged Sedgwick County Public Works Director David Spears to create a report of all bridges within the county that fall below that line.

“I want to know which ones they are so we can begin the process of prioritizing repairs, replacements or take any other appropriate action as needed,” said Skelton.

KSN reached out to Spears for further information.

Spears says that county bridges are inspected every two years.

If they fall between a score of 50 to 80, they can be repaired.  Anything below that, under federal guidelines requires the bridge be replaced.

Spears says previous repair and replacement projects have varied dramatically in cost, from $50,000 to $7 million.

The funding for these projects mostly comes from federal funds.

Skelton says identifying unsafe bridges is a matter of public safety.

“The longer we wait the risk runs higher for a catastrophic failure, an accident or higher restoration costs,” said Skelton.

Skelton says he expects to receive a report identifying the sub-standard bridges in the county within a day or two.


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