(Shaun Friedrichsen, Publisher)
At the Jefferson County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Jason Eyer, shop foreman at the highway department, reported to the commissioners that two bridges in Jefferson County had to be closed for safety reasons, which could have an effect on the Diller Picnic.
The highway department closed the two bridges, one located near Thompson on Fox Road and another north of Diller, because of concerns about structural integrity.
“The State of Nebraska called me and had me close a bridge down by Thompson, and there’s a bridge the first corner north of Diller and back east. It’s about a half mile with big, high banisters. They’re both fracture critical,” said Eyer.
Eyer noted that the bridge near Thompson was closed in the past; however, the bridge was reopened temporarily to allow for state traffic. Eyer stated that the department once again closed the bridge until interim Highway Superintendent Tim Farmer can inspect the bridge to ensure it is safe for traffic.
“All the welds and rivets and everything holding it [the bridge near Thompson] together are all coming apart,” Eyer said.
Commissioner Mark Schoenrock asked how the closures would impact traffic in both locations. Eyer explained that closing the bridge near Thompson would not affect much traffic, but that the closure of the bridge north of Diller may have an impact on those traveling to the Diller Picnic later this month.
“I’ve already had calls about the Diller Picnic and everything else,” said Eyer. “It’s [the bridge north of Diller] actually rated more than the other bridge. The rivets are rusted out on it too. Farmer is going to look at that one too. He is supposed to be down next week.”
Commissioner Gale Pohlmann explained that it was important to close the bridges to protect the public.
“They’ve got to realize that driving around a couple extra miles is better than dropping a two-ton vehicle through the bridge.”