October 26, 2021

County begins overdue bridge repairs

Supervisors approve $2.4M contract to replace outdated infrastructure

Two bridges on Jasper County’s back roads will be getting replaced and upgraded starting in the spring of 2022.

Both of the bridges, one of which crosses Indian Creek just north of Mingo and the other spanning Sugar Creek southwest of the Jacob Krumm Nature Preserve near Grinnell, were built in the late 1950s.

According to county engineer Mike Frietsch, both bridges were originally designed to last for around 40 years, so their replacements are long overdue.

The total cost for both bridges will be $2,475,844, with costs averaging out to around $7,400 per square foot.

Peterson Contractors Inc., based in Reinbeck, will be the contractors taking on both jobs.

“My department has worked with Peterson many times. They always come in on time and on budget so I don’t think we’ll have any problems there,” Frietsch said.

Work will begin on both bridges sometime after April 1, 2022.

Future bridge repairs and replacements were also mentioned, with Frietsch explaining that department staff have begun pursuing further grant opportunities to mitigate some of the costs.

Another issue addressed at the meeting was that one of the new bridges will cut off access to a local farmer’s driveway.

The new Indian Creek design adds several dozen feet to the bridge. But by adding the additional length to the bridge a driveway that leads to a farm owned by Harley and Phyllis Steenhoek will be cut off from the main road.

This issue has already been addressed and solved by an agreement between the property owners and Jasper County.

The agreement allows the contractors to construct the new bridge on the edge of the Steenhoek’s property, but also requires the county to construct a new driveway for the Mingo residents.

The supervisors approved the agreement and supported the decision to extend the bridge, saying it is necessary to prevent further issues with the creek.

“By adding length to the Indian Creek bridge, problems with both flooding and erosion will finally be addressed. More water will be able to move down the creek, thus helping to prevent any further flooding in the area,” supervisor Denny Carpenter said.

The agreement states the county must provide the Steenhoeks a new driveway, along with motor grader work and a final inspection before the work that will cut off the original begins.

The total cost of the new driveway project is estimated to be $18,160.

The agreement also allows the area around the bridge, most of which is also on the edge of the Steenhoek’s property, to be landscaped and renovated to help prevent further erosion.

“We’ll be adding landscaping fabric around the base of the bridge to help with ground erosion by preventing running water around vulnerable areas around the bottom of the bridge,” Carpenter said.

Contact Abby “Adler” Knipfel at 641-792-3121 ext. 6531 or aknipfel@shawmedia.com