Farmers angry about bridge’s new weight limits

img_2915BELVUE, Kan. (KSNT) – If you drive a grain truck or tractor trailer truck over the Belvue Bridge, you will have to find another way. The bridge now has a much lower weight limit. The new weight limit has farmers upset.

Vehicles weighing more than 13 tons can no longer cross the Belvue Bridge that connects Wabaunsee and Pottawatomie counties. County commissioners say the decision had to be made.

“I don’t want my children or somebody else’s children going across it which it looks secure in a car but big trucks are going over it taking away it’s safety and security,” Pottawatomie County Commissioner, Dee McKee said.

KHP Troopers are now enforcing the weight restrictions after KDOT found the bridge is no longer safe enough for heavy trucks and farm equipment.

“We came to the end of the ropes yesterday when the Pottawatomie County Commissioners asked the highway patrol to stop the heavy traffic going across the bridge,” an Steven Holz upset farmer said.image1

The enforcement has forced farmers like Steven Holz to make major changes. The biggest — it now takes more than an hour longer to get from his crops in Wabaunsee County to the others across the Kansas River in Pottawatomie. Holz says he contacted commissioners in both counties for help but is still without a solution.

“It’s terribly aggravating,” Holz said. “We have tried to be very understanding. But we are to the point where we have to do something else to get the point across.”

Pottawatomie County Commissioner Dee McKee says an answer won’t come quickly. It could take years to find the funding to replace the aging bridge. But that answer isn’t one that Holz and about 20 other farmers who once used the bridge want to hear.

“We have always viewed this as a community that would step up and help each other out and these days anymore, we are certainly not feeling welcomed, we are not feeling like a community,” Holz said.

Meanwhile, Wabaunsee County is also impacted by lower weight limits on the Willard Bridge that connects them to Shawnee County. Shawnee County Commissioners worked quickly to secure funding for a $16,000,000 replacement that’s currently being built.

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