The bridge pictured above is slated for demolition.  This bridge was originally installed at 2nd street in Dodge City and has historical significance.  Part of the bridge sections were moved to Valley Rd to aide in the crossing of Mulberry Creek, which at times, does contain water.   The bridge needs minor repairs to pass inspection, but the Ford County Commission has decided to tear down the bridge and require traffic to cross a part time waterway without a bridge, citing the $2000 annual inspection/certification fees as burdensome to taxpayers.   The demolish costs are expected to exceed $70,000.  The flooding of August 8, 2013 and August 13, 2013 has shown the continued need for an elevated crossing of the Mulberry Creek on Valley Road.

On June 4, 2012 the Ford County Commission moved to scrap the bridge of 170 feet and replace it with a seven foot culvert. I have fought to save the bridge for several reasons:

  1. It is historic to Dodge City and Ford County in that the Ford County Commission purchased the bridge (six spans) to cross the Arkansas River on Second Avenue in Dodge City in 1906, replacing the 1873 wooden toll bridge at that location. Then all six spans provided a new crossing of the Arkansas River on the Coronado Road from 1935 to 1958. Then two spans were moved to the Mulberry Creek on Valley Road in 1958 where they have served;
  2. The low water crossing is not suitable for this crossing, especially as evidenced by the recent flooding;
  3. Replacing the broken pin and restoring traffic across the bridge is the lowest cost to Ford County taxpayers (I continue to offer the bridge pin to Ford County at no cost to taxpayers).

From the Ford County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes, Meeting 2013-37, August 5, 2013:

 “Bids to Move Bridge

There were no bids received to remove the Valley Road Bridge. Mr. Halbgewachs will talk to the Kansas Historical Society and the Corps of Engineers to see about documenting the history of the bridge before moving forward with eradicating the bridge and constructing something else.”

Four years ago I was approached by the Ford County Commissioners to purchase the bridge for a dollar and close the road if they would provide other access and I was agreeable. The proposed cost of that and the fact that it would be a Ford Township road seemed to jinx that plan.

Time is short for this bridge. I do have a passion for history of Dodge City and Ford County and would like to save this bridge. The county plans to document the history through story and photo and post that on a Government Center wall and then destroy this working piece of history. I do not want that to happen.

Read more About the bridge’s history.

Please sign the petition to save the bridge and an important part of our local history.