Johnson County Set to Replace Structurally Deficient Bridge

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa — Residents in Johnson County are excited to see the county taking action to replace a bridge they deem dangerous.

"It's going to get worse before it gets better," said Harry Rogers, 77, a lifelong resident of the area. "It's part of living in the county, if something has to be done, it has to be done, so I'll support it."

Engineers are finalizing plans before beginning work to replace the Mehaffey Bridge. They expect to break ground sometime next month.

The county says the bridge isn't currently considered unsafe, but it has been declared structurally deficient by the federal government.

"We have to take action now, the problem just isn't going away," said Janelle Rettig, Chairperson of the Board of Supervisors. "It's the most expensive (road) project in county history."

The price tag runs at around $9 million, all paid for out of the county budget.

"It's like a racetrack," said Jim Moore, of North Liberty, who has seen drivers pass over the narrow bridge at dangerous speeds.

Construction is expected to last for two years. At times the bridge will be completely shut down, but officials will try and always keep at least one lane open, Rettig said.
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