Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2007

Women’s Bridge draws city council’s ire

July 26, 2007

Baldwin City Council members had to have a special meeting Monday to make a payment on the Women's Bridge project. But, it also gave them a chance to complain.

The $1.2 million bridge restoration project was started in December. It has cut traffic off to West Baldwin with its location on High Street between 10th and 11th streets. It was supposed to be finished in June, but that has been bumped to mid August.

"When is that going to be open?" asked Council Member Doyle Jardon.

Charlie Steinbacher, an inspector for EBH & Associates who was at the meeting, said it would be soon.

"Two weeks ago, it was measured for guard rail," said Steinbacher. "Once it's installed, there's no reason not to open it."

No specific time line was given and that didn't sit well with Council Member Ted Brecheisen Jr.

"From my perspective and other's perspectives, we're a little disappointed this has taken so long," said Brecheisen. "Someone has dropped the ball on it. It's taken entirely too long."

Steinbacher said it would be a liability issue for the city to open the bridge without the guard rails which will be on both sides of the bridge.

"It's just not a good idea to open it with it like that," he said.

Council members unanimously approved the $248,708.91 payment to LRM Co., the third installment on the project. The Kansas Department of Transportation is paying for 80 percent of the project and will reimburse the city.

Steinbacher did have some good news to report on the project. Because of various factors, the project may come in $100,000 under budget.

"It went better than expected," he said. "If there's any good news, it's that."

LRM had not submitted the bill until last week, after the last council meeting where it would have been approved. The company needed payment prior to the council's next scheduled meeting on Aug. 6, which prompted the special meeting. Four of five council members were able to attend the afternoon meeting at City Hall. Council President Amy Cleavinger couldn't attend.

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