The Atkinson Ave. bridge is complete and open to traffic about five weeks ahead of schedule.

The Atkinson Ave. bridge is complete and open to traffic about five weeks ahead of schedule.

“It’s great news,” said Bill Beasley, Pittsburg’s director of public works. “They still have some clean-up work and grass seeding to do, but they can do that while the bridge is under traffic.”

“The bridge is approximately 255-feet across and 65-feet wide, with a 10-foot wide sidewalk on the south side. Crews poured the deck in the span of one day. The $1,495,000, five-span bridge — spans are the spaces between the pillars — has about 1,135 square yards of concrete and will have street lights. Workers began pouring the foundations in August of last year.

Beasley said the opening of the bridge will be a relief to area drivers, many of whom had to travel as much as a mile and a half out of their way to go around the bridge.

“There have been a lot of people who have been inconvenienced because of the closure,” Beasley said. “It’s also the main access to the airport and is a connecting link from to U.S. 69 and 200th street, so it’s more convenient to the people and businesses who use it.

Atkinson Ave. also will connect to the first interchange leading to Pittsburg from the U.S. Highway 69 expansion, when it comes, and the plan is to remove the current hash marks and convert the structure into a four-lane bridge.

Beasley said construction crews were able to finish the job so early because of the mild winter and construction-friendly weather conditions.

“We really didn’t have poor weather conditions very often, and when we did it didn’t affect productivity and they were able to continue right on through the winter months,” Beasley said.

Contracting work was done by:
• B&B Bridge Co. of St. Paul — Main contractor
• Zimmerman Dozer Service of Neodesha — Earthwork
• Jim Riddel Construction — Water line readjustments
• Twin Traffic Marking of Kansas City — Pavement marking
• Fulsom Brothers of Cedarvale — Railwork
• Midwest Foundations of Topeka — Redrilling for bridge pilings