BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Scheduled work to be done on the road deck of the BNSF bridge in Fort Madison has been pushed back to avoid hurting attendance at the Tri-State Rodeo.
In an email to Fort Madison Mayor Matt Mohrfeld and Lee County Economic Development Group President Dennis Fraise, a BNSF official said due to events scheduled for Fort Madison and the Labor Day holiday, the railroad is pushing a 5-week road deck closure back to the week of Sept. 13.
“We will still be closed for five weeks with a reopening date of Oct. 16,” Peter Skosey, BNSF executive director of State Government Affairs wrote in the email to Fraise and Mohrfeld. “Will continue to update if something changes and as we progress through the project.”
Mohrfeld caught wind last week that the closure was scheduled for the week of the Tri-State Rodeo and made a call to Fraise for help in reaching out to the railroad on behalf of the city.
Fraise wrote to BNSF through another official and explained the event was canceled last year and typically brings in more than 50,000 visitors to the city, and is a “significant financial event for the city and area businesses.”
Fraise said a second down year after the pandemic would be another blow to the economy and the rodeo.
Eric Pitcher, a regional manager for Economic Development with the rail line responded that he had forwarded the email up to Skosey, who then responded Thursday afternoon with the news of the delay in the work.
The Tri-State Rodeo kicks off September 8, with pre rodeo events starting Saturday, Sept. 4. A full list of events and entertainment can be found at https://www.tristaterodeo.org/.