Fixing a Weak Bridge

9 years 3 months 2 days ago September 07, 2007 Sep 7, 2007 Friday, September 07 2007 Friday, September 07, 2007 8:24:03 AM CDT in News

In order to make sure history doesn't repeat itself in Missouri, MODOT wants to repair the Highway 17 bridge over the Osage River in Miller County.

"This bridge does have components that are similar to that bridge up in Minneapolis," MODOT Engineer Bob Lynch said. "So it was scheduled to be inspected yesterday, and when they did the inspection work they discovered some problems with one of the structural members underneath that supports the deck."

The average driver might think the rust on the beams and the crumbling concrete is the problem with the bridge.  Actually, the problem is the expansion joint. Water seeps down into the joint and can cause it to rust, possibly making the bridge more dangerous over time. 

 "What we're looking for here is section loss of steel and what that is, is whatever the original thickness of steel is, is how much the steel has rusted away," said Michael C. Watson, part of the MODOT crew. 

The bridge is still open to most traffic, but MODOT is steering big trucks to alternate routes. The Tour of Missouri bicyclists will still cross the bridge next week.

"Obviously bicycles don't weigh as much as vehicles do, so we're ready to go for the bicycle race," Lynch said.

Repairs should begin on Monday and be finished by the end of next week.

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