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MoDOT closes busy bridge in Webster County for repairs

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 6:40 PM CDT
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NEAR MARSHFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The recent floods have kept the Missouri Department of Transportation busy in the 21 counties they serve in southwest Missouri.

“We’ve had about 75 roads closed in our part of southwest Missouri and spent about $250,000 because of the recent flooding,” said Darin Hamelink, the MoDOT District Maintenance Engineer for the area.

The most significant repair work happened on the Webster County Route A bridge, which closed on Monday of this week.

“Fortunately, this was the only big site we had to deal with,” Hamelink said of the Route A bridge.

And the other piece of good news is that while the bridge was scheduled to be closed from Monday-Friday, Hamelink is hoping that completion will come sooner.

“We now anticipate opening it Wednesday by noon,” he said. “If everything all goes well.”

Route A is a major artery between Marshfield south to Highway 60 and is used by around 2,000 cars per day.

And while the bridge was still structurally sound after the flooding, repairs were needed because of the high water.

“It got pretty woolly,” Hamelink said.

“Woolly” because the rising James River threw a lot of debris up against the bridge, washed away some of the embankment around the structure, and removed sediment of sand and gravel from around the bridge abutments (that engineers refer to as scouring).

“So we had to close the road and get in there and replace all the big rocks that stabilize the stream bank,” Hamelink explained. “And then we excavated the roadway right in front of the bridge on the south end to repair the approach. Then we hauled off about 20 dump truck loads of drift that had piled up.”

The bridge closure has undoubtedly been an inconvenience for people like truck driver Rickey Noone, who travels the road almost daily and was surprised that he would have to take an alternate route to Fordland.

“It’s quite a bit out of the way,” he said. “Maybe 5, 6, 8 miles.”

Emergency responders have also been forced to find alternate routes. The Marshfield Fire Department has their James River Station less than a thousand feet from the closed bridge.

“That would probably add an additional 5-10 minutes,” Marshfield Fire Department Company Captain Travis Cramer said how long the alternate route would take. “But if it’s some kind of structure fire or critical incident, we can get mutual help from another department on the other side of the bridge like Southern Webster or Logan-Rogersville until we can get there.”

Still, can a few minutes mean the difference between life and death in an emergency?

“Hopefully, they can get it done pretty quick,” Cramer said.

That could be as early as Wednesday.

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