Reader cautions against crossing bridges closed for maintenance

Pranksters or vandals caused danger to themselves and others by removal and destruction of bridge barriers in rural Osage County late Friday or early Saturday.

Dear Editor:

Yesterday, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, we had an incident involving the destruction of some county “bridge closed” barriers that blocked the bridge on Hoch Road (where it crosses the South Branch Wakarusa River in northwest Osage County). The Osage County Sheriff was contacted by my father, Ed Franklin, and county maintenance arrived soon afterwards.

My main reason for writing is to warn motorists to not to attempt to cross closed bridges.

Sinkhole at the edge of the bridge abutment shows erosion under the road surface. Photos by Cheryl Franklin.

This bridge is extremely unsound due to sinkholes that have undercut the dirt road due to the rains and the age of this bridge. In fact, one of the maintenance crew informed my father that the sinkhole on the north side of the bridge was caused by him just walking on it to assess the concrete. Luckily he caught himself before he fell completely through the hole and was only scratched.

The signs and barriers are back up and thankfully this time no one was injured. Even though my parents live near the bridge, no one heard anything – so the damage could’ve happened anytime between late Friday night to when it was discovered around 5 p.m. Saturday.

Thank you,
Cheryl Franklin

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