Wanata Park bridge 'closed for a while'

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The bridge linking Peterson to Wanata Park will remain closed for some time, but Clay County Conservation Director Dan Heissel told the Clay County Supervisors he expects bids to be let this year.

Clay County Conservation Director Dan Heissel met with the Clay County Supervisors Monday morning to update them on the status of the Wanata Park bridge near Peterson.

The bridge, spanning the Little Sioux River and connecting southeast Peterson with the park, was closed by Clay County Engineer Scott Rinehart last summer when he determined the bridge was becoming a "safety issue," according to Heissel.

"A car is no problem, but a semi or tractor with grain could be a problem," Heissel explained.

Repairs to the bridge will be conducted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the owner of the structure.

"The bridge is going to be closed for a while. They have a lot of repair work to do," Heissel said. He noted the damage is limited to "basically abutment washing away."

The project is estimated to cost more than $400,000.

"Nowhere are we liable," Heissel stressed, indicating he was signing papers which would allow work to be done on property the county owns.

"When is it going to be done?" Supervisor Joe Skow asked.

"I was told it would be let in 2013. All of this is going to be designed and let by the DOT," Heissel answered.

The conservation director informed the supervisors that $150,000 has been set aside and some FEMA money is available for the project.

"I don't think they would go ahead with construction in 2013 unless they had the money lined up," Heissel said.

Damage to the bridge is linked to the severe flooding the area experienced two years ago. Wanata was a state park before it was sold to the county for a dollar about a year and a half ago Heissel estimated.

"When they first closed that, I had many calls. It's a seven to 12-mile detour for some people," Supervisor Linda Swanson said.

Heissel said, "I've been pushing to get this done as soon as possible."

Both Heissel and the supervisors suggested questions regarding the Wanata bridge be directed to Peterson Mayor Scott Brown.

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