MONTGOMERY COUNTY- The Highway 161 bridge over Smith Branch is structurally deficient. It's more than 70 years old, but it's not part of Missouri's Safe and Sound bridge program.
And that bridge isn't alone. A new study by Transportation for America shows two-thirds of the nation's deficient bridges are in rural counties all across the country. Stoddard and Chariton counties rank as the 42nd and 43rd worst, respectively, when it comes to bridges needing repair. 34.5% of bridges in those counties are structurally deficient, according to federal data.
A structurally deficient bridge needs repair to the superstructure, the deck, or the substructure -- or it's considered obsolete compared to today's bridge building guidelines.
"The bridges are safe," Bob Brendal, of MoDOT's Safe and Sound program, said. "If it was unsafe, it would be closed."
Engineers last checked the 161 bridge in Montgomery County in October of 2008, according to the Federal Highway Administration's 2010 National Bridge Inventory.
Missouri ranks 7th in the nation in having the most deficient bridges.
Maps generated by Transportation for America.