The Bend Road bridge in east Franklin County may be closed due to its poor condition.
The Missouri Department of Transportation recently inspected the bridge.
Bridge inspections for the east half of the county, which includes Bend Road bridge, have been completed. Now MoDOT is inspecting bridges in the west half of the county.
Once the inspection report comes back, which could be around May, the county commissioners will then decide whether to close the bridge or keep it open, said Eva Gadcke, Franklin County’s highway administrator.
When the bridge was last inspected in 2011, it was found to need minor repairs, such as replacing washers and bolts, but the overall substructure was OK, Gadcke said.
The new inspection will determine if there has been more deterioration to the substructure, she said, adding that the bridge could be the worst in the state.
There are eight school buses that travel over the bridge daily, she said.
From a liability perspective, County Counselor Mark Vincent said he would close the bridge immediately if it were up to him.
Gadcke said she has a letter from an 11-year-old boy who is scared to ride across the bridge on a school bus.
If the bridge closes, it would create a hardship for many people who use the bridge. Detours of 10 miles could result, she said.
“It would mean rerouting for the (Meramec Valley) school district,” she said, adding that about 1,800 cars a day use the bridge. “There’s going to be a time loss and financial burden because it’s just more distance.”
Many people use the bridge to travel to Pacific for work or go to Interstate 44, Gadcke said.
St. Mary’s Road and Robertsville Road are possible detour routes, Gadcke said.
The county is applying for $3.6 million in funding from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments to replace the bridge. The county would cover the other $1.4 million of the $5 million project. The county should know this June whether it gets the federal funds.
Fire trucks have not used the Bend Road bridge for a while, she said.
A new bridge could improve response times in Pacific, Robertsville and Catawissa, said city of Pacific Administrator Harold Selby.
Moreover, Selby said the current bridge creates a 90-degree angle with Bend Road, and this has caused tractor-trailers to get stuck.
The new bridge alignment would eliminate this problem. The new bridge would be just east of the current bridge.