The bridge carries Missouri Highway 96 (aka Route 66) over the Spring River. The bridge’s deck rating by the Missouri Department of Transportation has fallen to a 3. A 2 rating would force the bridge to be closed to traffic.
Eden said MoDOT hopes the bridge will not be out of service too long. Plans are to have it open before school starts next fall. “We will do everything we can to make sure that happens,” she said.
The detour will leave Highway 96 at Highway 37 (Avilla), go south to Jasper County Route E, east to Missouri 571, and then into Carthage. Detours can be routed only along state roads, Eden said, but local residents can choose more convenient detours.
Keeping historic Route 66 and its city plan in mind, the City of Carthage is urging MoDOT to construct a distinctive-looking bridge, such as an arched span. MoDOT says it’s cash-strapped, but would consider such a proposal if the city or some other entity would provide the funding.