Fearful of flooding, crews have stopped work on building the new Tuque Creek bridge so they could move equipment out of the area.
The project, which was scheduled to be completed by July 31 and allow Highway 47 to reopen south of Marthasville, is now delayed indefinitely, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) officials announced Friday.
“The contractor has moved his equipment out of the area due to the threat of significant flooding,” said Macy Rodenbaugh, MoDOT construction and materials manager.
Bross Construction, the project’s general contractor from Hannibal, will remobilize to the area once floodwaters subside or the threat passes. Crews began working on the project in April.
As of Friday, only 18 percent of the project has been completed, according to MoDOT’s weekly roadwork report.
Flooding is expected along the Missouri River and in the southern part of the county following the release of water in South Dakota. The situation could worsen should the area experience an above-average rainfall over the next few weeks.
MoDOT is anticipating Highway 94 and several other roads in the area to be closed by floodwaters.
Even if the Missouri River flooding is minimal, the rising river will likely cause Tuque Creek to rise considerably since that water will have no place to go.
A time line on possible flooding is expected to be more accurately known once the water travels further downstream.
“It is likely the river will flood the area, and with the rising water, it is not possible for work to continue on the bridge,” Rodenbaugh said. “The bridge will not be open by the end of July, but we will continue to monitor the flooding, and the contractors will get back in there as soon as physically possible.”
With Highway 47 closed, traffic is being detoured on Highway D through Marthasville and then on Boone Monument Road. While concerns were raised about the increased traffic in the city and on the narrow county road, few accidents have occurred. An increased police presence also has focused on slowing motorists. Large vehicles, particularly 18-wheelers, are being encouraged to travel on alternate routes.
The delay could cause Highway 47 to remain closed when classes resume for area school districts. The opening day for classes in the Washington School District is Aug. 17, while Borgia’s first day is Aug. 15.
The Tuque Creek bridge had been in disrepair in recent years as rebar on the structure could be easily viewed in areas where chunks of concrete had broken off. The new bridge is expected to cost around $1 million.