CSAH 19 bridge is deteriorating, according to public works

WORTHINGTON - Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder on Tuesday told the board of commissioners that weight restrictions on a bridge on County State Aid Highway 19 south of CSAH 32 has been posted after an inspection showed the timber piling is deteriorating.

The commissioners adopted a resolution that identifies the bridge as a priority as the first step to getting the $875,000 project funded.

Changing the weight restriction on the bridge could be disruptive to traffic on the west side of the county, Schnieder said. His agenda briefing states there are several bridges with weight restrictions along the corridor between Leota and Ellsworth, but this one is low enough to restrict both semi and straight trucks.

"You can get school buses across it," he stated, adding that the reality is people who are in the habit of using the bridge with bigger vehicles will likely still use it. If the bridge goes down, he said, the driver would damage or lose their vehicle, and be responsible for the replacement of the bridge.

Putting the design together and getting funding in place takes time, Schnieder said, and work would probably have to wait until next year. If design, funding and bids could be accomplished in a shorter time frame than usual, there would be a chance the bridge could be taken down and pilings could be put in before winter. Adding to the timing is the Topeka Shiner minnows, a protected species that has caused Nobles County countless headaches in the past.

"Because of them, you'd have to wait until mid August to move forward," Schnieder said. "It's just not going to get put together this year that I can see."

Complicating the matter even more is that the nearest north/south blacktop in Highway 91, which is scheduled to undergo work during the 2019 and 2020 construction seasons.

Commissioners tasked Schnieder with getting and keeping the ball rolling on the CSAH 19 bridge replacement.

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