Local bridges to undergo construction

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTubVqj7-9Q”][vc_column_text]Nine of Adair County’s 42 bridges are classified as structurally deficient, and the Missouri Department of Transportation currently is seeking a funding solution to pay for repairs and replacements.

The Missouri Senate is considering four bills proposing more funding for road and bridge repairs. Legislators have until the end of the legislative session during May to pass one of these proposals. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Senate endorsed a plan April 4 to ask voters in November whether they want to raise the 17-cents per gallon fuel tax to 22.9 cents per gallon, which is higher than the national average of 20.8.

Amy Crawford, a MoDOT area engineer based in Kirksville, says while all of Adair County’s bridges are safe to drive on, some bridges are considered in critical condition because they have a lower load capacity than other county bridges. Crawford says many were built during the 1940s, and most have a useable lifespan of 50-60 years.

The average age of a Missouri bridge is 44, and there are more than 640 bridges in Missouri in critical condition, according to documents provided by MoDOT.

Crawford says while MoDOT inspects most bridges every other year, it inspects critical condition bridges every year so MoDOT can keep an eye on the condition of the structures. The rating scale MoDOT uses ranges from nine — excellent condition — to zero — failed.

Critical condition is anything below a four rating, and all of Adair County’s critical bridges are rate either three or four, Crawford says.

“If a bridge is unsafe, we will close it. Critical condition … puts it on a watch list. It allows us to keep better track of it, lets us know that it’s a need coming up and that it’s not in the best condition, but it is still safe to cross.”

– Amy Crawford, MoDOT area engineer

Crawford says all the critical condition bridges in Adair County are posted for a lower weight allowance than the statewide allowed amount, which means if a driver is hauling grain or logs in a truck or semitrailer, the vehicle cannot cross if it is over a certain weight.

She says MoDOT gets concerned when the load posting goes down to about 10 tons because it means only passenger vehicles can drive across it.

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