As plans are now underway to replace the old Long Creek Bridge, the Missouri Department of Transportation has shared what factors led them to choose replacement over rehabilitation, and what the project will look like moving forward.
Long Creek Bridge, which carries Route 86 traffic across Table Rock Lake between Ridgedale and Blue Eye, was built in 1956 during the construction of Table Rock Dam.
Following more than 60 years of use, the bridge is now in need of a full scale rehabilitation or a complete replacement, according to MoDOT. MoDOT Transportation Manager Kristi Bachman said MoDOT officials have been working to decide to either rehab the bridge or to build a new bridge on either the north or south side of the existing bridge.
“We looked at basically four factors as we made this decision: Cost, impacts, traffic impacts during construction, and public input. We had a very well attended public meeting back in February and got a lot of good feedback out of that meeting,” said Bachman. “We meet with transportation stakeholders and state and local lawmakers over recent months to get their input, too. We evaluated the cost and the property impacts of the three options and then the traffic impacts.”
The February public meeting was attended by more than 300 area residents to learn about the project options and provide their feedback on how the different options would effect them.
“We already knew if we did a big rehabilitation it would mean closing the bridge for about a year and a pretty lengthy detour, versus if we built on new alignment, very short term closures at the end of the construction,” Bachman said. “Meaning that a majority of the construction season the traveling public could drive on the existing bridge while we’re building the new bridge.”
Bachman added it was also determined that building the new structure on the south side of the existing bridge would be cheaper, as the construction would impact fewer properties than constructing on the north side. At this time, the Long Creek Bridge project has been budgeted $36 million, according to Bachman.
“Our consultants, we’ve challenged them to look at ways to reduce the cost, because these are very expensive projects,” said Bachman. “The latest, just the construction portion of the project, is $30 million.
“That’s just for building the bridge and the roadway connecting pieces on each side of the bridge. We’re at $30 million for that, but we’re still at the $36 million overall project cost.”
On June 3, MoDOT temporarily closed Long Creek Bridge to make urgent repairs to the bridge’s structural steel that connects to the bridge’s driving surface to the truss system.
The length of the repairs was expected to take up to 30 days; however, MoDOT crews were able to complete all the necessary repairs in less than a week.
“Due to thorough advanced planning, which included having all the needed materials, using three highly-skilled MoDOT bridge crews – one from MoDOT’s Southeast District in Sikeston and two from MoDOT’s Southwest District in Springfield – working 12-to 14-hour days and less deterioration than expected, the work was completed much ahead of schedule,” said MoDOT Senior Communications Specialist Angela Eden said in a press release.
Bridge construction will begin in 2022, and Bachman said she anticipates the work could start in the spring. She said her assumed timeline for the length of the project could be about two years.
However, before construction starts, Bachman said MoDOT will be hosting a few more public meetings on the project.
“Right now, we’re moving forward with our preliminary plans, and as we’re finishing that up this fall, we’d like to reach out to the public and show them the plans and get their input on it,” she said. “I think there will be multiple meetings before the project begins. I think it would be a good idea to have one this fall, and at least have one more after that before construction starts, so people can get an idea what the schedule looks like and what to anticipate.”
Bachman shared she appreciates everyone who provided their input on the project.
To learn more about this project visit modot.org.