September 19, 2021

Another bridge, another issue

Opening closed bridge on Clover Ave. has its own challenge

A week after hearing from a Union County farmer about how a lowered weight limit on a bridge will hamper his harvest work, county engineer Keith Wieland said a closed bridge on another road does not have an easy answer to re-open.

No formal action was taken.

During Monday’s Union County Board of Supervisors meeting, Wieland said the bridge on Clover Avenue, south of 190th Street, which 190th is a level B road, closed earlier this year because of its condition. Wieland suggested replacing the bridge with a low-water crossing. A low-water crossing is within budget and materials are available. Level B roads are marked, are not as developed as rock roads and have less maintenance.

Low-water crossings allow traffic to go over the river bed on a structure, but water may go over the surface when water levels are high. Supervisor Ron Riley said constant high water may also require more maintenance at the crossing.

Wieland said Calhoun Burns, an engineering firm the county works with on bridge structures, suggested to close the bridge.

“My concern is it would back up and go around us,” Wieland said about the water and a crossing. The volume of water in the Platte River is an issue.

Wieland suggested using rip-rap and concrete to protect the river’s bank and still make a low-water crossing usable. Rip-rap is rocky material, typically broken pieces of concrete, used along river banks to prevent bank erosion.

Wieland said he will further meet with Calhoun Burns to discuss options to re-open the bridge.

Last week, Wieland said the county has 45 bridges that will be beyond their life expectancy in the next five years.

“How are we going to replace some these bridges. Are we going to request additional funding? Are we going to bond these things out,” Wieland said.

In other county news...

Wieland said a skidloader rented by the county and used Thursday along Thayer Road was involved in a two-vehicle accident. The driver of the skid loader, a county employee, was treated at Greater Regional Health Center and released the same day. No further details were available.

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.