Public hearing set for bridge repair project

Friday, December 9, 2022

LE MARS — The Le Mars City Council has set a public hearing for Tuesday, Dec. 20, at noon, to approve plans and specifications for the 24th Street Southwest Bridge Repair Project.

The bridge near Exit 116 was damaged by a fire on Feb. 12.

The bridge is city owned and extends Business Highway 75 in Le Mars to the Highway 75 Bypass.

The origin of the fire was located in debris under the bridge. The cause for the fire was determined to be accidental with the most probable cause being a fire that spread from an individual under the bridge attempting to cook some food and the fire got out of control and spread to nearby combustibles.

The damage occurred on the east end of the bridge.

Under the schedule proposed by city administration, bids for the repair project will be due at 10 a.m., Jan. 27, 2023, with the council to award bids on Feb. 7.

City Administrator Jason Vacura indicated the completion date for the project is Oct. 31, and will take 30 working days.

The estimated cost of the project is $140,862.75 to be funded with Road Use Tax.

Council member Mark Sturgeon said he was concerned about looking at the bigger picture of how to avoid this type of incident occurring again.

While the Feb. 12 incident was accidental and not vandalism, Sturgeon noted there needs to be a way to have the individual(s) removed from the property.

“Since this has happened, we do periodically make sure we are checking our bridges,” Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte said. “If we see people coming and going from underneath the bridges, we do address it and ask them to move.”

He further said the individual involved in the Feb. 12 incident is no longer in Le Mars.

The council approved a motion to establish Dec. 20, at 12 p.m. for a public hearing on plans, specifications, form of contract, and estimate of cost for the 24th Street SW Bridge Repair Project, and to establish Jan. 27, 2023, at 10 a.m. to receive and open bids with said bids to be considered at the Feb. 7, 2023, meeting.

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