The Leavenworth County public works director hopes to have a Millwood Road bridge replaced by the end of next year.

The Leavenworth County public works director hopes to have a Millwood Road bridge replaced by the end of next year.

An existing Millwood Road bridge that spans across Stranger Creek north of Easton has been closed since early February when a hole was discovered in it.

Leavenworth County Public Works Director Mike Spickelmier proposed using what is known as a construction manager at-risk method for building a replacement bridge.

He said using this method may result in a faster completion of the project than the design, bid and build method that is traditionally used by the county.

“It will likely be a little more expensive,” Spickelmier said. “But it will likely be a little faster.”

Spickelmier said he knows the bridge replacement project is a high priority for county commissioners.

Local resident Judy Etter addressed commissioners about the closed bridge during a public comment portion of the meeting. She argued for getting a new bridge opened as soon as possible.

“It’s just a mess to try to get to town,” she said.

Commissioner Jeff Culbertson said he would like to see weekly reports on the project.

He said other bridge closures often result in a detour of one or two miles. But he said having the Millwood Road bridge closed results in a detour of seven or eight miles.

“It’s a major thoroughfare road,” Culbertson said.

Millwood Road is designated as County Road 14.

Culbertson said some people may question the length of the bridge replacement project when other bridges seem to be built in a much shorter amount of time.

But Culbertson said the other bridge projects require a lot of behind the scenes work before construction begins.

He said the Millwood Road bridge had to be shut down before the necessary preparation work could take place.

Based on the last inspection, county officials believed the 60-year-old bridge still had five to 10 years of life before it needed to be replaced. Culbertson blamed the failure of the bridge on an “extra bad winter.”

Spickelmier said he also assumes the hole in the bridge developed as a result of the freeze-thaw effects of the winter.

“This was an unforeseen circumstance,” he said.

The public works director proposed issuing a request for proposals for firms interested in acting as the construction manager for the project.

“We would like to have a firm on board as soon as possible,” he said.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said county officials will utilize an on-call engineering firm to help draft documents for the request for proposals.

“We will move as quickly as possible,” he said.

Commissioners voted to authorize Spickelmier to proceed with the construction manager at-risk process.

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