Work is scheduled to start Tuesday on the Prairie Street bridge. The work will shut down the high-traffic bridge for about three months, detouring drivers down Commercial Street to South Avenue and back to Prairie Street.

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.

(10) comments


Ah, the bridge from nowhere to nowhere.

KB Thomas

I try to sandwich criticism between two layers of praise and thanks for contributions towards my Gazette articles box 821 Emporia. Keep those cards and letters coming in


Looks to me like the best way coming from the south is to stay on 99 to 50 and then go east or west,


The crazy one is back and commenting again! He usually is t gone for long. He just can’t help but spread hate and discontent. Too bad really...

KB Thomas

The alleys for developers downtown do not pay property taxes for 10 years and no specials on alley. Nice deal. In the last 20 years property taxes have gone up 187% while population has decreased 1%. Something seems out of whack. The 2017 Consolidated Annual Financial Report will be for public view June 30,2019. Emporia schools have 51% Low Income Families. On a recent report by a Kansas Think Tank has Emporia High rated D and F on certain subjects like Math. Common Core anybody? It appears that just throwing money at education is not the answer. I feel sorry for people on low salary that have to work extra hour to pay for increase in water.

Gary Lukert

KB, I fail to see the correlation between the 1% population decrease. Just for a basis, how much has inflation increased the past 20 years. No, not 187 per cent. Also, let the record show: REPUBLICANS, who are the big complainers of Taxes RUN EMPORIA and THE STATE OF KANSAS. But, of course, you all know it is OBAMA and PELOSI'S Fault.!


A map illustration of the detour would have been nice. Not everyone goes down commercial, st.


How about fixing some of the streets. These have been in bad shape for years. City put up sign on 12th rough road ahead dang it's been rough for years! City can fix alleys for certain developers but nothing for the real tax payers. Time to throw the down town bums out!


well, lets just raise some taxes and fix everything. SMH

Gary Lukert

12th Avenue is about as bad as any main road I have ever seen. Finally, looks like work is going to get started. Most of the cause of Emporia's bad streets has been the water main breaks.

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