State Representative Justin Alferman, a Republican who represents Osage, Franklin and Gasconade counties, recently got a look at the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to state bridges in his district.
Accompanied by MoDOT Area Engineer Preston Kramer, Rep. Alferman toured two bridges that are on the state’s critical condition list: the Route J bridge over First Creek in Gasconade County and the Route 100 bridge over Shawnee Creek in Osage County.
The Route J bridge is a one-lane bridge that is 77 years old and supported by timber piles. The bridge serves local school, fire and ambulance districts. If it were to close, the detour for motorists would be 24 miles.
The Route 100 bridge was built in 1947 and, like the Route J bridge, is supported by wooden beams. About 500 vehicles per day would be affected if the bridge were to close.
“I am very thankful to Preston Kramer for showing me the transportation needs of the 61st District,” Alferman said. “While I have been aware of some cosmetic and structural problems for some time, I was alarmed to see how bad some problems are. I was astonished to find that we still operate bridges in Missouri that function with wooden support beams. There is a serious need for additional transportation funds for our area, and that will be a focus of mine for the foreseeable future.”
Missouri has 10,376 bridges on state highways, including 209 that are more than 1,000-feet long. Fifty to 100 fall into the “critical condition” category each year. Critical condition bridges are the state’s worst and with continued deterioration are just one or two steps from being closed.
Kramer said in order to catch up the state should be replacing more than 100 bridges per year, but funding only allows for about 30 bridges per year to be replaced. That means in 10 years, there will be about 1,500 bridges on the critical condition list.
Kramer also showed the representative a new bridge in Gasconade County, the Route H bridge over Little Berger Creek.
“I wanted Rep. Alferman to get a feel for what a new bridge looks like in comparison to some of the relics we have on our state system,” Kramer said. “The Route H bridge is a great example of the basic, no frills design we use to build smaller, more rural bridges.”
For more information, visit www.modot.org/bridges.