Archive for Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Our View: Quick-fix solution best for Pleasant St.

July 18, 2007

Generally speaking, it's best to avoid a quick fix in favor of a long-lasting solution. Such is not the case, however, with problems with the Pleasant Street bridge.

This spring, an inspection led officials to place a 5-ton weight limit on vehicles crossing the old bridge. The limitation meant fire engines and ambulances, among other vehicles, would no longer be allowed to cross the span.

Emergency officials were worried. Firefighters had used the bridge several times a week to respond to calls at the Tonganoxie Nursing Center. With the weight restriction, response times to the center would suffer and possibly put life at risk.

City officials knew they had to act. State and federal funds would help pay for a new bridge, but those funds wouldn't be available until 2010 at the earliest.

The answer came in the form of a $35,000 quick fix: The city would repair the bridge by removing the deck and creating a reinforced superstructure that would allow emergency vehicles to cross. The temporary fix will last five to seven years, enough to allow the city to apply for funding for a permanent fix.

The work will shut the bridge down an estimated two weeks, which is still a concern. But the quick fix now will ease an untenable situation and is the best idea for the city, its taxpayers and nursing center residents.

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