The Prairie Street Bridge is roughly 30 years old and has started to show signs of age.
On Tuesday, work will begin to bring the bridge back up to speed to accommodate the thousands of vehicles which flow over it daily.
According to Assistant County Engineer Jim Brull, the project will contend with the problem of the bridge’s abutments, which he said had begun sinking over the years.
“Basically, it’s going to be a polymer overlay on the bridge and they’re going to do work on the abutments,” he said. “They’re going to add some approach seats to the abutments.”
The project will shut down the frequently-traveled bridge for about three months, he said. This time period could be lengthened by severe weather, according to Brull.
“If you have bad weather, it’s going to extend it,” he said. “People have to realize that when we say three months, that’s hopefully three months. If you have conditions where you can’t work, of course they can’t work in that.”
Throughout the duration of the maintenance repair, traffic will be detoured around the bridge. The detour route will be posted at the north and south ends of the bridge, according to an email sent out Thursday morning. According to the email, traffic coming to and from Tyson will not be affected by the project.
People are asked to exercise caution while driving around the construction zone.
According to City Engineer Jim Ubert, the 8,000 - 10,000 vehicles that flow across the bridge every day will be directed from Prairie Street down Sixth Avenue to Commercial Street down to South Avenue and then back to Prairie Street. Those coming from the other direction will follow the same route, but in reverse.
“It’ll be an adjustment, yes,” Ubert said. “But I think that we’ve — hopefully we’ve mitigated that some.”
The bridge project is a joint city-county project, though the county is taking the lead on it. The county hired the contractor that is scheduled to work on the bridge and is administering the project.
The city is helping pay for the repairs to the bridge, Ubert said, a cost that comes to about $337,407.34. The city owns half of the bridge, he said.
“We are a financial participant and we’ve been to the meetings and so forth,” Ubert said. “But as far as — we did not hire the contractor.”
For more information, call the Lyon County Engineer’s office at 340-8220.