Bridge construction delays ‘inconvenience’ Riverton drivers

RIVERTON, Kan. – If you find yourself on Route 66, driving through Galena on your way to Riverton or beyond, chances are you’ve come to expect some delays.

“It narrows down and you’re driving at 45 mph for quite awhile coming in. It’s just the word ‘inconvenience’ is what I hear from everybody,” said Scott Nelson, owner of the Old Riverton Store.

From customers, to residents, and plenty of other drivers in between, more people are wondering when this project will come to an end.

“It’s something we thought would be finished quite a bit sooner, no fault to maybe some people, but I think maybe the state wasn’t aware of the severity of the damage to the bridge,” observed Nelson.

The Kansas Department of Transportation admits as much.

“The patching quantity on that deck has nearly doubled so it took more time to get the work done because there was more work than we expected,” explained James Metcalfe, KDOT District Construction and Materials Engineer.

Mission Construction of St. Paul began the work on July 9, 2019 with crews patching up the bridge over Spring River. The initial 130 day contract has surpassed its deadline, due in part to Mother Nature.

“Weather has definitely been a factor, you know, the project carried over the winter and there were some days they were able to work, but a lot of days they weren’t,” said Metcalfe.

For antsy drivers, Metcalfe says the project is nearing completion. Patching is done. All that’s left is a concrete overlay, though that could take anywhere from 30 days to two more months depending on the weather.

“Patience, these things take time. Granted this is taking a little more time than we anticipated too, but would you rather have it take a little longer and be done correctly, or hurry up and get it done and be back out there fixing something else in a few years,” asked Metcalfe.

“We’ll be glad when it’s done,” emphasized Nelson.

Metcalfe says the bridge is structurally sound and by the time they’re done with these repairs, it should be ready to weather the road ahead for many years to come.