Great Bend, landowner settle bridge issue

There was a bit of good news when the Great Bend City Council Monday night heard an update on the beleaguered Park Street bridge over the Lischevsky Ditch east of Great Bend.

The news followed a meeting Monday afternoon between the landowner whose property was isolated when the bridge was condemned and the city’s on-call engineering firm Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita. They reached an agreement whereby the city could purchase an easement at the northern end of the property.

This would allow entry to the ground and eliminate the need to replace the span, which crosses the ditch about a quarter mile east of town on the south side of the parcel.

“Our recommendation has changed,” Interim City Administrator George Kolb said. Replacing the bridge at a cost of around $150,000 was first on the council’s Jan. 2 agenda, but council members questioned the cost and legalities of the issue and tabled it.

Monday night, the council authorized Kolb, City Attorney Bob Suelter and Mayor Joe Andrasek to negotiate a price for the 50-foot easement with the property owner. Suelter said the total cost of this would likely not surpass $40,000, including $20-30,000 for the land and the cost to install cattle guards, move fences and fix gates.

An appraisal still needs to be done, Suelter said.

“With this, they will have access,” Suelter said. “We will just do away with the bridge.”

(Read more: Great Bend Tribune – Local News)