Multiple reports Saturday indicated about 300 people attended a rally urging the preservation and reopening of the historic Gasconade River Bridge near Hazelgreen, Missouri.
However, the best report probably was the one by KY3 in Springfield, Missouri. It covered a lot of issues about the bridge’s closing:
I want to flag this part of the report, when Missouri Department of Transportation engineer Ed Hassinger was quoted:
Hassinger says the problem of crumbling bridges is growing across Missouri, with nearly 600 bridges now in critical condition.
The bridge across the Gasconade River is just one of 5 bridges across the state that MODOT has had to close in just the last 6 months.
“Our funding has just not kept up with the cost of doing business,” says Hassinger.
But, as historian Jim Ross has long pointed out about Oklahoma and now Missouri, why wasn’t this and other bridges maintained properly when the state did have the money? I’ve never hard a good answer to that.
A meeting was held at the Lebanon library after the rally. A committee was put together to investigate ways to repair the bridge.
More than 100 photos from the rally may be seen in a collection on Facebook by Jax JustJax.
The 525-foot bridge, built from 1922 to 1924, was closed by Missouri in mid-December after an inspection found deterioration in the structure. It will remain closed indefinitely, as MoDOT lacks the funds to fix it.
UPDATE 3/21/2015: Here’s a 52-minute video from the event:
(Images courtesy of Jax JustJax)