Some unexpected challenges in the Ninth Street bridge project may turn out to be for the best.


Some unexpected challenges in the Ninth Street bridge project may turn out to be for the best.

Work has been progressing steadily on the bridge, as well as the Main Street bridge, but there was one glitch.

“The original design was a little farther to the north,” Scott Rickard, assistant city engineer, said.  “A little more than a week ago we discovered there was an error in the alignment of the bridge.”

During the staking of the bridge, it was placed six feet nine inches too far to the north.

“Over the past week we have been working with KDOT and the contractor on a possible resolution to that,” Rickard said. “I think we feel comfortable we came up with a plan to solve that problem. I think we’re going to get the same product that we had on our original plan.”

Because there was adequate right-of-way, the new location will not be a problem.

“The plan is to shift the radius in the intersection of Main and Ninth to the north six feet nine inches,” he said. “Since we don’t have any other streets to tie into that’s not really a big issue.”

In fact, it could even help if the city decided to do pave Ninth Street up to the railroad tracks.

“It gives us a little better alignment,” he said.

If that happened the curb and gutter would be 2 1/2 feet closer to the property line for property owners on the west side of the bridge to the north.

There would be a small taper to the intersection and west of the bridge will actually be straighter than it currently is.

The alignment of Gordy also had some issues with the existing storm sewer and storm sewer placed with the project.

“That will be moved to the north,” Rickard said.

Mayor Tom McKibban also asked who was paying for the corrections.

“The contractor is going to bear all expenses for changing the plans,” Rickard said.

That includes staking and additional construction items.

McKibban also asked who had the oversight of this project.

The state is in charge of construction on both bridge projects. There is a consulting engineer overseeing the construction and the contractor was responsible for the staking.

“Is this common with all these errors on a big project?” McKibban asked.

“You have difficulty with projects all the time with little things that come up,” Rickard replied.

Herb Llewellyn, city manager, said there are times when a contractor may be eliminated from a bid list because a city doesn’t want to accept bids from them.

But so far things are still on track.

“They are getting the project done in a timely manner, but sometimes projects are difficult and there are conflicts at times, but those are things to work through,” Rickard said.

As for the Main Street bridge project, everything is still on schedule, according to Rickard.

“Everything is going good,” he said.

The work has become more visible in the past couple of weeks as drivers pass by.
All of the sub-structure on the east side is now completed and the steel beams are being set.