The first Ray County bridge to receive much-needed attention by the state’s Safe & Sound program will be the bridge over Willow Creek on H Highway in Henrietta. Over the next five years, the multi-faceted program will improve 802 of Missouri’s worst bridges that are in such poor condition that temporary or permanent closure is imminent.
As you travel through the state, you will notice the Safe & Sound signs on many bridges, indicating the bridge is in need of repair, and will be improved to ensure safety. These improvements range from repairs to full replacement. The Willow Creek bridge project includes deck removal and replacement by pouring concrete over steel reinforcement. The work will require closure of the bridge for up to 60 days and will be completed this year.
Bridges that have these signs will most likely be closed during the construction to save time and money, and so as many bridges as possible may be improved. It is required that each bridge be closed no more than 60 days.
In Ray County, 22 bridges will be improved, 23 in Lafayette, and 10 in Clay. No tax increases are required to pay for this program. The funding comes from the federal bridge replacement funds that the state already receives.
The first bridge repaired under the Safe & Sound Improvement Program reopened yesterday. The bridge was over Hominy Creek on Route AA north of Route 32 near the city of Halfway in Polk County and closed for construction repairs since Feb. 23. Two more, one in Howell County and one in St. Francois County, are on track to be completed this week.
“We made a commitment to Missourians that we would improve hundreds of the state’s worst bridges, and we are delivering on that promise,” said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. “MoDOT is addressing more bridges than we ever have before thanks to the Safe & Sound initiative, as well as the normal bridge work scheduled in our five-year construction program, ongoing corridor work and now upcoming recovery act projects.”
Missouri has 10,249 bridges in the state highway system, the seventh largest total in the nation. MoDOT indicated 1,200 of them are in poor or serious condition. The Safe & Sound program will focus on 802 of these bridges, at an estimated cost of $700 million. All of the bridges are scheduled to be completed by Oct. 31, 2014.
Photo: The Willow Creek Bridge on H Highway in Henrietta will be the first Ray County bridge to receive construction repairs under the state’s Safe & Sound program. Over the next five years, 802 of Missouri’s worst bridges will be repaired or replaced. (Photo by Brenda Jensen/The Daily News)