The restoration of the historic Front Street Bridge in Galena, Kansas, recently was finished, and the city will hold a dedication ceremony at 6 p.m. July 22 to mark the occasion.
City and county officials talked to the Joplin Globe newspaper about the project, also known as the Galena Viaduct:
“It’s a piece of history, and we don’t have much of Route 66 highway going through Kansas,” Cherokee County Commissioner Pat Collins said. “We wanted to save this for the people who come along after us.” […]
The viaduct was shut down for repairs to its bridge deck and rails in April. The top of the bridge was repaved with a sand finish to resemble the original color. Waste from the area’s lead and zinc mines was used in the original roadbed.
“The people who built it, built it really sturdy,” Collins said. “It’s just cosmetic things that have worn down over the years, but the concrete that’s in it was built from material that came from the mines. We didn’t want to lose it.”
The restoration was paid for with a $193,000 Community Development Block Grant, with Cherokee County covering the other half of the cost.
The July 22 event will have food trucks, music and fireworks.
The bridge’s pillars and support structure also were repaired in 2010, partly with a grant from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.
The bridge had been closed for about two months during repairs. Collins said the repairs this year were needed so the bridge could handle the weight of firetrucks and large RVs. He said the bridge, built in the 1920s, is the oldest one still maintained by the county.
The bridge sits just north of Cars on the Route and other businesses along old Route 66 in downtown Galena. The Front Street Bridge is designated to the National Register of Historic Places.
(Images of the restored Front Street Bridge in Galena, Kansas, by Galena Mayor Dale Oglesby via Facebook)