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Replacing a bridge over the Marion Spillway

From January 2019 to December 2019, Kaw Valley Engineering worked with Dondlinger Construction to provide testing and inspection services for a bridge replacement over the Marion Spillway in Marion, Kansas. This summer, we also provided testing and inspection services for repair work done on the bridge.

The Marion Dam is located in central Kansas between the Marion Reservoir and the Cottonwood River.

Since the bridge that needed to be replaced sat on top of the Marion Spillway, it could not be demolished like other bridges. Engineers had to develop alternative methods to replace it.

The removal was completed in sections. First, the concrete box girders that held the bridge were lifted and removed from the project. Then the concrete piers and abutments were cut down using a wire saw.

After all of the old bridge was removed, rebar and new concrete beams were placed. The bridge was then built using traditional plywood decking and rebar methods. The stop logs—which are used if the spillway needs to be opened, but not release water—were removed for sand-blasting and repainting.

The project encountered a few challenges throughout construction. Working in winter weather with a frozen body of water caused difficulties, and some material shipments were delayed. Additionally, those working on the project had to keep debris from the bridge removal out of the water.

“Very near the bridge there was a water intake which supplied the City of Marion with water,” Senior Engineer Technician Randy Bryant said. “The contractor used special baskets held in place by cranes to collect any and all debris.”

We are glad that our engineers and surveyors were able to contribute to an interesting and large project in central Kansas, and we are happy to see the Marion Dam completed and running smoothly.