A member of the Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge Guardians met Thursday with Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe in an effort to buy more time for the endangered bridge near Hazelgreen.
“Roamin'” Rich Dinkela, president of the Route 66 Association of Missouri, said in an online video later that day he didn’t get a definitive answer from Kehoe, “but we didn’t get told ‘no,’ either.”
“In order to get Mike Kehoe to get more time out of MoDOT, we have to make a compelling model, a business plan, that shows we can raise enough money and provide a new owner for the bridge in order for him to go and make that request.”
Dinkela said “we’re already working on it, and we’ve already got a pretty good plan formulated” but didn’t elaborate. He said at some point in the future, bridge supporters may be asked to donate money or time for the effort.
He concluded: “We’re still in the game. It’s not over yet. I’m pretty confident we have the ability to make this happen.”
The Missouri Department of Transportation last month set a “drop-dead date” of April 20 for the Guardians to find a new owner for the bridge, or else the state will tear it down.
State officials closed the nearly 90-year-old bridge in December 2014 after an inspection revealed grave deterioration in the structure.
MoDOT later built a new bridge a few yards away from the old bridge and Interstate 44.
(Image of the Gasconade River Bridge near Hazelgreen, Missouri, in September 2014 by Indtrigg via Flickr)