Shawnee Co. Commission expected to lower weight restrictions on the Willard Bridge

ROSSVILLE (KSNT) — The Shawnee County Commission is expected to put even tighter weight restrictions on the Willard Bridge Thursday morning. It’s the second time this year they’ve acted.

Originally built in 1955, then upgraded in 1983. The Willard Bridge now has five years or less until it must be replaced.

But instead of immediately replacing the bridge, the Shawnee County Commission is looking to set a weight limit that will only allow passenger cars and pick-up trucks.

“I’m more than disappointed I’m severely disappointed that this at the county and state level that that has not been taken care of,” said Martin McClelland, Farmer.

Martin uses the bridge to transport his cattle back and forth from the other side of town.

“We are starting calving season now in about 2-weeks. And so that’s the real busy season. You’re over their multiple trips,” said McClelland.

And tougher restriction also applies to school buses.

A school bus use to be able to pick up a kid and drop them off at school within 10 minutes when crossing the Willard Bridge. But now with these new weight limit regulations in place school buses are not allowed to cross the bridge. What use to take 10-minutes now takes 45 minutes using a now route.

“It’s pretty inconvenient for kids to be getting up before 6:40 am in the morning so they can get on a bus to go to school by 8 o’clock. Some of the parents have started bring the kids in on their own,” said Kerry Lacock, USD 321 Superintendent.

Advocates of the bridge have also taken to social media. Posting an open letter to the commission saying…

“We have done our part; we have done what you have asked us to do….we are asking for immediate funding for replacing the bridge.”

Even if the money can be found. It will take at least two-years to build.

Shawnee County Commissioners will get a briefing from the county engineer on what to do next starting at nine o’clock Thursday morning.

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