A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Bend Road bridge has been set.
Franklin County will celebrate the bridge’s opening Tuesday, June 5, at 10 a.m. The Bend Road bridge is located on Highway N southwest of Pacific.
County Highway Administrator Ron Williams said the bridge’s contractor, Lehman Construction Company, California, Mo., is finishing up work on the bridge. He said the June 5 deadline should give them plenty of time to finish.
When the bridge opens, the 100-year-old bridge will be shut down. Williams said the old bridge is expected to be removed by early July.
The county has been discussing replacing the Bend Road bridge for several years now. At the Franklin County Transportation Committee meeting Thursday, Chairman Jonathan Zimmermann noted the bridge has been an issue all 18 years he’s been on the committee.
“It’s a big deal for Franklin County,” he said.
The new bridge cost $4.5 million, with the federal government paying the bulk of the cost and Franklin County paying about $1 million.
To date, it is the largest bridge construction project ever undertaken by Franklin County.
Lehman Construction Company built the bridge. Cochran Engineering designed and engineered the structure.
Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer and other officials broke ground on the new bridge Oct. 7, 2016.
Construction was halted temporarily in May 2017 when the Meramec River rose and washed away the temporary dam built for construction vehicles.
The rising water raised concerns of local residents, but Griesheimer said the new bridge was designed to withstand the forces and loads created by floodwater.
The old one-lane Bend bridge was built in 1918 to provide a crossing for residents on the southwest side of the river to reach Pacific.
The new span will replace the 100-year-old bridge with its east entrance at right angles to the bluff, which had prevented fire trucks and other large vehicles from using the crossing.
The alignment of the new bridge will connect Bend Road and Highway N in a more direct line, eliminating four right-angle turns that will allow large vehicles to drive directly onto the bridge.