A Bridge Divided: Columbia and Boone County to Fix Old Bridge

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BOONE COUNTY - Boone County Public Works is working with the City of Columbia to replace an 80-year-old bridge on Rustic Road. Derin Campbell of Boone County Public Works said the two organizations are working together on the project because Rustic Road is shared between Columbia and Boone County.

This bridge has a history. Built in 1930, the only modifications the bridge has seen came 20 years later in the 1950s. In 2009, MoDOT inspected the bridge and reduced its weight limit from 40 to 15 tons. There are 11 homes on the dead end side of the bridge, and a Bridge Engineering Assistance Program (BEAP) report done by MoDOT in 2011 said the "Rural Local" bridge carries approximately 200 vehicles a day.

"A shared road is where the city limits of Columbia or any municipality in Boone County meets up with Boone County," Campbell said. "Anytime you have those situations it's always who takes care of what. We always try to stay on top with either informal agreements or formal agreements as to who's responsible for what to make sure everything's taken care of."

When KOMU spoke to David Nichols of Columbia Public Works over the summer, he said neither the city nor the county had plans to replace the bridge even though MoDot had suggested the bridge be replaced in 2011. However, since then Boone County has applied for and received a grant from MoDOT that will help finance the construction of a new bridge. 

"Melanie and I both knew the bridge needs to be replaced," said Stuart Spradling, a resident of Rustic Road. "I mean it's not like I'm an engineer but you can tell when you can pass a basketball through holes in the bridge supports. Something needs to be done."

Columbia and Boone County share more than 100 other roads in the area. Right now the two public works departments are working on creating a shared roads maintenance plan.