Detour signs began being placed in Arkansas City, Winfield, and Wellington last week, with the bridge, itself, being closed off to traffic for the final time on Monday, Dec. 3rd at 11:00 a.m.
The bridge is about five miles east of the Cowley/Sumner county line. The $6,368,390 project has a 250 working-day schedule. A.M. Cohron & Son Inc. of Atlantic, Iowa, which has an office in Emporia, is the prime contractor for the project.
This construction project will have a major impact on traffic in both Sumner and Cowley Counties. Highway 166 provides a high-profile connecting route between the two counties.
The state detour will follow Highway 77 and then travel Highway 160 through Winfield. It then will go west to Wellington, south to Highway 81 near South Haven, and then over to Highway 166.
The bridge was built in 1937 by the Kansas State Highway Agency. Its last inspection was in August of 2016, and was judged to be in fair condition.
According to Deb Gruver, spokesperson for KDOT, “The contractor is planning on methodically removing the bridge deck concrete from one side to the other (attempting to reuse as much rubble as possible on other areas of the project) and then doing the same with the steel but taking it to be recycled. This process won’t be as instant as an implosion but will leave less of a mess.”