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Bridge barricaded after supports burn

Staff writer

County commissioners want repairs made as soon as possible to a bridge on 350th Rd. west of Nighthawk after it was damaged when a March 19 controlled burn rekindled and burned support posts.

“Please do not cross it as catastrophic damage and injuries could take place,” the county said in public notice closing the bridge. “We will try to fix the damage to get it open as soon as we can safely do it.”

The burn was on farmland owned by David Rziha.

When commissioners discussed the bridge Monday, county counsel Brad Jantz said he would contact Rziha’s insurance company if needed.

“We need to get something done because there’s no way to know when it could collapse,” commissioner Randy Dallke said. “I’m not placing our road and bridge employees in danger.”

Three wooden support posts need to be replaced. Two completely burned away and one is missing about a third of its length, commission chairman David Mueller said.

The bridge has been inspected by county engineer Brice Goebel and consulting engineer Kenny Blair of Cook, Flatt, and Stroebel.

Goebel said he had no idea how much repair would cost or how long itwould take. Part of that depends on how extensive the damage turns out to be. He hopes to get to work on the bridge this week.

Goebel said he had driven to the bridge daily to make sure barricades had not been moved.

“I am very fortunate we got the bridge shut down before there was injury or loss of life,” Goebel said.

County clerk Tina Spencer said she imagined both the property owner and the county will file claims with insurance carriers.

County burning regulations prohibit burns that create traffic hazards, although the prohibition appears aimed at smoke drifting over roadways.

Another section says burns are conducted at the sole cost, risk, and expense of the individual. The county accepts no responsibility or liability with respect to any burning.

“Individuals should adopt appropriate safety measures as are dictated by each specific situation,” the resolution reads.

Last modified March 30, 2023

 

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