An engineering firm estimated it would cost at least $2.5 million to rehabilitate the closed Gasconade River Bridge near Hazelgreen, Missouri.
Sparks Engineering of San Antonio issued a 16-page structural evaluation of the historic Route 66 bridge, which has been closed since December 2014. The Missouri Department of Transportation has stated it would tear down the bridge next spring if a new owner isn’t found that would repair it.
LebanonRoute66.com, which obtained a copy of the Sparks report, quoted the evaluation:
Our evaluation found that the primary deficiencies in the bridge are the deterioration of the concrete deck and the inadequate bridge railing. The steel superstructure and concrete substructures require some isolated repairs (e.g. horizontal bracing gusset plates) but otherwise are in good condition.
In general, our recommendations regarding the structural rehabilitation of the bridge are:
— Replace the concrete bridge deck.
— Repair/replace corroded steel components, primarily occurring below-deck.
— Clean and paint the bridge. As an alternative, paint only the bottom-chord and below-deck structure.
— Replace the bridge rail with one that meets current standards.
— Repair deteriorated concrete at the piers and abutments, primarily occurring on horizontal exposed surfaces of the pier caps.
In the structural findings, the Sparks firm stated:
In general, our analysis indicates that the bridge has sufficient capacity for pedestrian/bicycle reuse once the deck is replaced and repairs are made to the steel, without the need for additional strengthening or structural upgrades. Our analysis found that the truss top and bottom chords are at their maximum allowable design capacity with the dead load plus full pedestrian live load cases considered. Therefore, we recommend the rehabilitated bridge include deck replacement using a thinner concrete deck or an FRP deck for pedestrian reuse. We also found that the capacity of the stringers is typically adequate despite corrosion in the top flange and they can generally be reused with limited repairs.
The full report may be found here.
Roamin’ Rich Dinkela, president of the Route 66 Association of Missouri, emceed a video Tuesday with a bunch of locals and Route 66 fans about the bridge. In short, Dinkela is advocating for Laclede County to take over ownership of the bridge.
The video contained instructions for those wanting to preserve the bridge:
Contact these important people right now! You must do this before July 2, 2019! Tell them how important this bridge is for Route 66 tourism within the county and how important it is for future generations interested in history! They need good positive feedback from you about why this is important!
County Commission: Joe Pickering 417-532-4897 email@example.com
Presiding Commissioner: Randy Angst firstname.lastname@example.org
State Rep. Sandy Crawford: 417-733-2030
Tourism Nicole McGinnis: 417-532-4642 email@example.com
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt: 202-224-5721 Assistant Dan_wadlington@blunt.senate.gov
State Rep. Vicky Hartzler: 573-225-2876 Assistant Drew.Cannon@mail.house.gov
Michael Meinkoth: 573-526-3593 Michael.Meinkoth@Modot.mo.gov
Robert L. Reeder: 573-751-0473 Robert.Reeder@Modot.mo.gov
Dinkela also put a sample letter on his website.
State officials closed the bridge after an inspection revealed grave deterioration in the 90-year-old structure. MoDOT is building a new bridge a few yards away from the old bridge and Interstate 44.