HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — Hutchinson city leaders were forced to close part of a bridge on Wednesday due to road crews needing to fix a pothole on one of five bridges in a half-mile stretch.
The bridge is located on The Woodie Seat Freeway. This freeway connects Hutchinson to South Hutchinson, as well as K-96.
This series of bridges has been a popular topic for the Hutchinson City Council.
“We really need to have a forward-looking view of if we can maintain this infrastructure or what it needs to look like in the future,” explained Hutchinson Mayor Jade Piros de Carvalho.
More than 10,000 people drive the freeway every day, but right now, it’s in needs some major repairs.
Piros de Carvalho says the city is looking for solutions, “We are looking at other design opportunities. To rebuild those bridges in their current kind of format would be unviable financially, and it just wouldn’t be a great infrastructure investment.”
City Director of engineering Jeff Peterson says maintaining the bridges is roughly the same price in the short term as tearing one or two down to make roundabouts. Still, the long-term cost is not in favor of keeping all of the bridges.
“We would recommend the roundabout option going forward,” explained Peterson. “That would eliminate some maintenance ongoing for the future and the cost of rebuilding bridges going forward.”