Less than 10 percent of Lyon County bridges in need of major repairs, study says

A federal study shows a lot of bridges across Kansas may need to be repaired or replaced.

The state has around 25,000 bridges of various ages, and according to the Federal Highway Administration, almost 350 are both rated in poor shape and aren't in a position to guard against collapse.

Lyon County Engineer Chip Woods says there are 14 bridges which are either functionally obsolete, meaning they are structurally sound but are either too narrow for today's traffic or have some "geometric" issues, or are structurally deficient -- meaning they can only support a certain weight limit. Another 21 are listed as "fracture-critical," meaning if one major part of the bridge goes, the whole bridge is in danger of collapsing.

Woods tells KVOE News his department has been working hard the past 25 years to ensure bridges are in good shape.

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The county has over 350 federal-classification bridges and another 38 low-water crossings. Lyon County commissioners will discuss Woods' report on 2013 bridge inspections while in study session Wednesday. Woods says the county's average sufficiency rating has climbed from 69.7 in 1991 to 85.3 this year.

Also during the meeting, commissioners will discuss a time card option for at least some county offices. An overview of Emporia Main Street initiatives is also planned.

The meeting starts at 8 am Wednesday in the County Courthouse.

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