The Missouri Department of Transportation on Tuesday afternoon nixed the Route 66 Association of Missouri’s plan to take over ownership of the historic Gasconade River Bridge near Hazelgreen.
The Lebanon Route 66 website posted a copy of the 13-page email sent to MoDOT officials, preservationists and other Route 66 organizations, including the Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge Guardians, that contained a review of the proposal.
The Route 66 Association of Missouri submitted a plan about a year ago where the bridge’s deck would have been removed to reduce stress on the overall structure, plus adding fencing and taking out an insurance policy on the bridge.
The association eventually wants to rehabilitate the 1923 bridge for pedestrian and other recreational use.
MoDOT’s review stated that proposed insurance policies submitted from the association or Guardians were insufficient.
MoDOT stated the association’s plan to preserve the bridge lacked specifics and lacked plans for additional work to stabilize the bridge after its deck was removed. The agency stated that post-deck work is needed because the bridge is vulnerable to collapse during flooding.
MoDOT stated no maintenance plan for the bridge ever was submitted.
It stated the association’s fundraising plans “were general and vague.”
Overall the Association’s proposal was under-developed and lacked specificity that would be expected for an agreement involving a project with a cost in the millions of dollars. The Association’s proposal lacked plans regarding future maintenance or operation of the structure and there was little correlation between funding and the schedule of stabilization. The Associations proposal lacked reasonable coverage for loss to property or person and did not assume all legal and financial responsibility from MoDOT as was expected.
Lebanon Route 66 stated in its story that in the wake of the rejection, MoDOT will restart the legal process of “resolving adverse effects from the removal of the bridge.”
It also stated the Route 66 Association of Missouri “is expected to continue opposing demolition.”
State officials closed the 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)