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June 27, 2013

Failing Pilings Forces Bridge Closing North of Arbela

Failing pilings have forced the closure of a county bridge northwest of Arbela. On June 19th, the Scotland County Commission announced that bridge #0970008 on County Road 704 was closed to all traffic.

Barricades were put in place to prevent all traffic following the latest inspection by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) engineers.

Two years ago, the failing wooden pilings underneath the bridge decking of the 29-foot bridge, had forced engineers to enforce weight restrictions on the structure. At that time the limit was lowered from 22-ton to 11-tons. The commission noted that limit likely was not observed by heavy equipment traffic, hastening the bridge's decline.

The latest major maintenance was done on the bridge in 1986, when new decking was installed. However, no repairs or upgrades were made to the pilings at that time.

The commissioners also noted that recent weather conditions have not helped bridge conditions across the county, as wide spread flooding has taken its toll on all the county's bridges.

The latest inspection revealed further deterioration of the bridge's base structures, which hold up the span of the crossing over the Morgan Branch of the Wyaconda River.

Commissioner David Wiggins indicated the bridge likely would be replaced with a new 60-foot long structure. He pointed out that part of the problem on the current structure was the growing weight load created by the approaches on each end of the structure. A wider crossing would alleviate this issue and serve to improve the life expectancy of the new bridge.

No time line was issued for the bridge's replacement, as the county bridge crew will likely complete ongoing projects before turning its attention to replacing this bridge. Funding also will have to be considered at that time.

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