County misses out on grant for Hackney bridge

The exterior beam at the northwest corner of the Hackney Bridge with two holes in the beam.

Cowley County commissioners tabled action on the closed Hackney bridge at their Tuesday night meeting to give county administrator Lucas Goff time to look into a bond issue to pay for bridge replacement.

The county has applied for six grants for funding to replace the bridge and been turned down for every one.

Commissioners have three options for dealing with the Hackney bridge, which is on County Road 222, a main route to the county landfill:

• Commissioners could do nothing and keep the bridge closed. That is an inconvenience requiring drivers to go north through Hackney itself or to use County 232, a dirt road, to the south of 222.

The commissioners discussed with engineering superintendent John Jordan the possibility of paving two miles of 232 to make an alternative route to the landfill.

Such a job would cost about $600,000 or $1 million “to do it right” — half the projected cost of the bridge replacement, Jordan said.

• Commissioners could use the money in the bridge fund for the replacement project that is estimated to cost about $2 million.

That would empty the bridge fund and prevent the county from applying for grants, most of which require that the county put up a certain amount of money to be considered.

• The third option is a bond issue. Commissioners have instructed Goff to meet with bond counsel to discuss the possibilities.

“I’ve heard that interest on bonds is very low” at this time, Goff said.

A mill is worth about $277,000 he said, and the county would be looking at eight or nine mills of property tax increase to fund the project. Voters would have to approve the bond issue.

Goff will present information on a bond issue to the commission at their next meeting Dec. 1.

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