Darryl Lutz, Butler County Public Works Director and Engineer, met with the board of county commissioners at the meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 3 to recommend approving engineering services agreements for multiple bridge projects.

In December 2016, the board of commissioners authorized Lutz to work with Finney & Turnipseed of Topeka to negotiate scopes and fees for most of those projects. Now, the company is proposing an amendment in scope and fee for the Walnut River Bridge deck replacement project on SW Haverhill Road. The original project was a bridge deck mill, patch and overlay project. After preliminary field engineering work started, it was determined that the bridge deck was in a condition that warranted replacement.

Finney & Turnipseed has submitted separate proposals for each project that are all well within the expected range of cost for engineering services.

The engineering fees for the five rehab or repair projects are as follows:

• bridge superstructure repairs and bridge deck replacement for the Walnut River Bridge on SW Haverhill Road – amending the current agreement from $12,600 to $28,600

• pony truss bridge structural repair and deck repairs for the Hickory Creek Bridge on SE Cole Creek Road – $16,800

• pony truss bridge structural repair and deck repairs for the Little Walnut River Bridge on SW Haverhill Road – $17,600

• bridge structural rehab project on SW 40th Street, west of Fulton Road – $9,600

• bridge deck repairs for the Walnut River Bridge on NE 150th Street – $7,600

The engineering fees for the two bridge replacement projects as follows:

• Little Walnut River Bridge on SE Cole Creek Road (SE Chelsea Road) – $50,900

• Fourmile Creek Bridge on SW 120th Street – $49,400.

The fee for fracture-critical bridge inspection work is $17,750.

Funds are available for all the projects, and all but one are in the 2017-2021 capital improvement plan (CIP). The Fourmile Creek Bridge replacement project is the exception since it may be covered by federal aid that the county has applied for. The total estimated cost for the projects is $220,000, and the combined total of fees is $198,250.

The board of county commissioners approved all of the engineering services agreements.

Then, Lutz gave an update on the K-196 bridge replacement project in northwest Butler County.

"I was on the phone with KDOT [Kansas Department of Transportation] .... I was trying to get some sort of an update. They are running behind on the project, and part of it is they had some substructure design issues where they had some problems with some rock that wasn't what they were anticipating. They ended up having to redesign some of the piers and drive some additional piling. The result is the contractor's requesting 42 additional calendar days. Now, that's not yet approved. But I think, reading between the lines, they're going to get some sort of approval," Lutz said.

The 42-day extension would push the project's finish date from mid-November to the end of December.

"I just stressed to KDOT on the phone to recall that our primary issue was not having to maintain a detour through the winter, particularly if we get snow and ice. They are aware of that, and so they are currently working to figure something out where, even if the work isn't completely done, they could at least get it open to traffic for the winter," Lutz said.

Some of the final touches, such as surfacing and paving work, may be done in the spring.

Lutz also told commissioners that the current bridge project on Haverhill Road will probably hit its anticipated mid-November completion date.

At another point in the meeting, Lutz mentioned that the BOMAG compactor at the landfill is up and running. He had purchased a new Deutz engine for the compactor in August after he was fully refunded for a bad engine that he bought in late June. The previous working engine in the compactor went down earlier in June.

Before leaving, Lutz updated the board on the status of mowing in Butler County. All of the necessary mowing is not finished yet.

"There's parts of the county that are pretty ragged just because we've had some mowing tractors down, and now we're back in full operation with all of our mowing tractors again. But we'll continue to mow," Lutz said.