The flood-damaged Chestnut Avenue bridge is closer to being reopened after Arkansas City commissioners on Tuesday approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the county.
The document outlines the roles, responsibilities and financial obligations of both entities in their combined effort to provide minimal but effective repairs to the bridge, which has been closed since May flooding.
City Manager Nick Hernandez said the document would be sent to the county for review and approval. He said modifications had been made to the original memorandum to ensure that the repairs would be for the area around the bridge, rather than the bridge itself.
“The bridge should be a different item,” he said. “We’re just trying to get the roadway up to par so we can get traffic moving along that area.”
The memorandum provides for a maximum equally shared expense of $250,000 to repair the west approach to the bridge. Repair of the north riverbank on the west side of the bridge will be minimal, sufficient only to provide stability for the roadway.
The memorandum also stipulates that the county come back to the city for approval if the repair costs exceed the agreed upon amount.
Hernandez said the maximum load limit for the bridge has not been determined. He said County Administrator Lucas Goff told him the county had still not received a KDOT inspection report as of Monday regarding structural limits of the bridge.
Commissioner Jim Sybrant said that while the agreement could put bridge back into service, it would eventually need to be replaced. He urged the city and county to work together to rebuild the infrastructure and continue to seek grants.
“This seems to be a pet peeve of people in our community, and I’m one of them,” he said. “Our government entities have allowed much of our infrastructure to deteriorate.”
Sybrant said the bridge is too small, and the addition of the bypass created a much narrower channel for floodwaters to flow though. He said the Chestnut Avenue bridge is one of the narrowest points.
“That has to be relieved sometime in the future,” he said.
Water supply line
Commissioners also approved an agreement between the city and the Avocado Beach Club to obtain an easement for a water supply line.
The city wants to move the water pipe away from KDOT-owned land and through land owned by the club.
The line brings water to the treatment plant from the city’s south well field, but recently failed. The club agreed to provide the easement for $2,000. The city has also agreed to replace a fence that was removed by KDOT.
Hernandez said the construction and repair of the waterline has already been completed. He said the line passed all pressure tests Tuesday and is ready to handle water flow again.
“For the record, it’s done,” he said. “It was actually done today.”
Commissioners also approved the purchase of a new, two-ton cab and chassis truck from Summit Truck Group, and installation of a flatbed dump body by Kansas Truck Equipment Company, for a total not to exceed $74,709.
The new vehicle will be used for wastewater collection and will replace a 1978 Ford. Environmental Services Superintendent Rod Philo said repair parts for the truck have become difficult to obtain.