Corrosion Found On Willard Bridge, Weekly Inspections Recommended

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- Corrosion on the Willard Bridge is forcing weekly inspections to ensure safety for bridge users.

Public Works Director Tom Vlach updated the Shawnee County Commission on the status of the fracture critical status bridge Thursday.

Vlach also introducted from Finney & Turnipseed, the county’s engineer for the project, who showed the commission photos of floor beam corrosion on the ends of the bridge where they attached to the road. Vlach says that the corrosion will not cause the bridge to fail, but show signs of other parts failing. Vlach suggested that the bridge be inspected weekly.

“These areas that we looked at there are not the parts of the bridge that are, if they fail, the bridge goes down,” said Vlach. “However, if these do fail then we will have, we will be able to get a little bit of an advanced warning.”

Commissioner Bob Archer also mentioned holding a public meeting to discuss the possibility of a pedestrian walkway on the bridge. Commissioner Kevin Cook said that there would be no public meeting. Commissioner Shelly Buhler is just looking to keep the bridge on track.

“We’re wasting precious time of we do not stay focused and focus on solutions,” said Buhler. “Which is is the bridge safe to pass over? And finding the funding.’

Vlach said that they would not know how much funding the bridge could receive from KDOT until after the current legislative session.