Sedgwick County Public Works to complete structural repairs on the 63rd St. south Bridge
(Sedgwick County, Kan.) - Beginning the week of November 15, the county will be closing the two north lanes over the Arkansas River and reducing traffic to one lane in each direction on the south two lanes of the bridge. The lane closure could last 6 to 12 months while repair solutions are being developed. Digital signboards will be set up on 63rd St. south several days ahead of the change to provide information about the traffic changes to drivers.
The 63rd St. South Bridge is one of 609 bridge size structures owned and maintained by Sedgwick County (within the unincorporated area of the county). Built in 1979, the 400 foot long bridge carries about 11,000 vehicles per day over the Arkansas River. Drivers should expect some delay after the lane reduction, especially during rush hours, due to the merging of traffic. The closest river crossings are located on 47th St. South (two miles north) and 83rd St. South (2.5 miles south). It is unknown at this time if the repairs can be made without closing the entire bridge.
A detailed inspection was a part of an ongoing study of the bridge undertaken by an engineering consultant under contract with the county. It revealed significant deterioration at the end of three bridge beams under the west end of the bridge structure due to salt and water intrusion. The study is the first step in a process that will guide decisions about future rehabilitation or replacement of the bridge. Equipment used by the consultant was able to reach places that cannot be seen by bridge inspectors during regular biennial (every other year) inspections.
“Our staff is grateful for the timing of the study and detailed inspections. We want to avoid traffic safety issues whenever possible,” said Jim Weber, director of Public Works/County Engineer. “The Board of County Commissioners strongly supports our programs to maintain and improve county owned transportation infrastructure. We are developing a repair plan and estimate of repair costs. We’ll be taking budget requests to the county commission in the near future for approval.”