Elm Street bridge deemed unsafe, closed for months
Anyone trying to drive on 11th Street will have to access it from High Street or U.S. Highway 56 as its only other access road was closed last week.
As of last Thursday, the Baldwin City Department of Public Works, acting on authority of the mayor, closed Elm Street from 10th to 11th streets. The street will be closed to vehicle traffic for months.
“It’s definitely something we want to get going this spring or summer,” Baldwin City Administrator Jeff Dingman said. “If we can find a way to get it done this year, that would be the plan. If we have to defer it, for any reason, that wouldn’t be the first choice. But it will be closed for a while.”
The city issued this statement: The drainage structure (bridge) in the 1000 block of Elm Street has recently been evaluated for soundness, structural integrity and the ability to support vehicle traffic. On the basis of the evaluation, the city has decided to close the structure to vehicle traffic in the interest of pubic safety while repair or replacement of the structure is evaluated.
“We are going to replace it,” Dingman said. “There’s not much left there to fix. It’s the old bridge. It’s coming apart. It has needed to be replaced for quite some time. It’s now at the condition where we can’t put it off any longer.
“It would be safe if someone wanted to ride a bike or walk across it of course. It’s had that 3-ton weight limit on it for around 10 years. Three tons isn’t very much, especially when talking about large SUVs driving on it. Fire trucks already know to stay off of it, which is a good thing.”
Dingman said the city staff already has one estimate on the cost to replace the bridge. He said they might get more estimates after finishing the design plans for the project.
“We have some culvert and bridge replacement money saved back,” Dingman said. “It could go toward this project, but probably not all of it. We’ll have to see what the cost estimates are and see how far we can go.”