Lincoln Bridge Closing Disrupts Local Fishermen
“I know they’ve got to do their job but it’s going to affect a lot of the good fishing down through there,” said Kenneth Snell, with a fishing rod in one hand, ready to fish south of the Lincoln Street Bridge.
Fishermen along the Arkansas River were not looking forward to finding new spots to make a catch.
“This is the best spot. The heads are taking it down from us but we could wait. We don’t have no other choice,” said Snell.
The 40-year-old bridge is located above a dam that has been wearing down the support and steel. City engineers said patching up the problems would be too costly.
“Even though the existing bridge could be repaired, we’ve done an economical analysis and found that it was more economical to construct a new bridge and then move the current dam out from underneath,” said Jim Armour, city engineer for the City of Wichita.
The new dam will be moved about 200 feet downstream from its current location. Engineers said the new dam will help stabilize river levels upstream.
“Although this won’t completely eliminate any flooding upstream, it’ll reduce the occasions of that,” said Armour.
Starting Monday, engineers will lower river levels. This is something engineers said will be helpful in the long-run.
“The citizens will see a lot more stability in the river level upstream once the new dam is completed,” said Armour. “I think this bridge will have a service life of 50 to a hundred years.”
Although fishermen didn’t like the move, they said they’re looking forward to a new bridge.
“Whenever they do get through it, I know it’ll look nice,” said Snell.
The Lincoln Street Bridge will be closed to pedestrians and motorists starting Monday. Traffic will be detoured using Harry Street, McClean Boulevard, and both Main and Market Streets.
The project is expected to be complete by the fall of 2012.