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Scotts Bluff County considers closing bridge
February 09, 2012 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
The bridge on Cook Oil Road between Highway 26 and Spring Creek Road might be closed in the future, depending on a public hearing.
Bob Bennett, Scotts Bluff County director of public works, gave his initial findings to the county board at their Monday meeting. The road, east of Mitchell, is currently open, although traffic is light with about 35 cars per day.

Larry McCaslin, a licensed bridge inspector, had inspected the bridge and found major deterioration from 2009 to 2011. He estimated the cost to replace the bridge would be in the $170,000 range.

“The bridge’s substructure is performing as required, but its useful life is running out,” Bennett told the board. “The McCaslin report recommends the county no longer expose itself to potential liability over the possible failure of the bridge.”

Bennett said if the bridge were closed, landowners could still get to their land via the next road a mile away.

Farmer’s Irrigation District was also contacted about the possible closure, and they had no objections.

Bennett said he’s sent out registered letters to all the landowners concerning the possible closure. “I really can’t say how the landowners will react,” he told the board. “There’s not much farming going on in that immediate area.”

Commissioner Steve Stratton said the biggest concern will come from people who farm below the tracks on the south side of Spring Creek Road, the old Cook farm area.

“Some of them live on the other side of Highway 26,” he said. “There are roads along the ditch bank to allow them to cross 26, but I don’t think their equipment would go through that bridge, at least the way it is now.”

County commissioners received Bennett’s report and approved a resolution to schedule a public hearing on March 19.
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