73-Year-Old Bridge Gets Check-Up

1 decade 4 months 1 week ago Friday, August 03 2007 Aug 3, 2007 Friday, August 03, 2007 5:31:05 PM CDT August 03, 2007 in News
Here in Mid-Missouri, one bridge is suddenly getting a lot of attention, and for good reason. Not only is it very similar to the one that fell into the Mississippi river Wednesday, it is also 73 years old. MoDOT says it carries thousands and thousands of cars this time of year.

Traffic is heavy Friday afternoon, as cars flood towards the Lake of the Ozarks. As the people pour in, this week's bridge tragedy is still fresh in the mind.

"I sit and watch the traffic that goes across it with the heavy construction," said Dave Gregle, driver. "It just makes you think. These trucks are 60, 70 thousand pounds, it just makes you think."

This "hurricane deck" bridge over the lake, built in 1934, is structurally similar to the 35W bridge in Minnesota. No significant findings were made when MoDOT last inspected the bridge in October of 2006.

Marie Pyke works at Captain Ron's on the lake, and drives over the bridge everyday on her way to work.

"The maintenance department has made periodic checks and I'm not as nervous about it as I would be if I had not seen those checks going on," said Pyke.

Two inspectors looked at the bridge Thursday, and the preliminary exam found no indications of trouble. MoDOT will return to the bridge Monday morning and give it a much more thorough safety check.

Still, some worry about the effects of trucks towing boats across a 70 year old bridge.

"The rust and the maintenance in Missouri, that's what scares me," said Gregle. "'Cause anytime you've got rust, you're weakening that metal."

A MoDOT engineer said the agency will bring in special equipment and inspect every inch of the bridge. The inspection will slow drivers down for two days because the bridge will be reduced to one lane.

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