A trip Tuesday around Phelps County to consider what the next big bridge replacement project or two should be got cut short by a flat tire but not before county officials were able to look at two bridges.
All three county commissioners and County Road Superintendent Walter Snelson are reviewing a list of possible bridges on county roads that can be replaced with Bridge Replacement Off-System (BRO) funds that must be obligated.
The two bridges that county officials drove to and reviewed Tuesday were a span on County Road 7460 over the Little Piney Creek known as the Vida bridge, and a bridge on County Road 7490 over Corn Creek.
In December of last year, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) provided the commission with a list of 17 crossings in the county that qualify for federal bridge funds, but three of the bridges on the list are in the cities of Rolla and Newburg.
The Vida bridge is one of the lowest-rated bridges on the list, with a sufficiency rating of 20.3 percent. The deck has a rating of 5, the superstructure has a rating of 6 and the substructure has a rating of 4. MoDOT currently has a 10-ton weight limit on the bridge.
The other bridge viewed by county officials Tuesday was the County Road 7490 bridge over Corn Creek, which has a sufficiency rating of 50.8 percent. The deck has a rating of 8, the superstructure has a rating of 7 and the substructure has a rating of 7. MoDOT currently has a 15-ton weight limit on the bridge.
It was noted that the county road department has done some work on the Corn Creek bridge, but commissioners were unsure if the work was done before or after MoDOT inspected the span.
Only bridges with sufficiency ratings under 50 percent are eligible for full funding while the others with higher ratings are eligible only for partial funding.
The commissioners said traffic counts on the bridges should be considered when choosing a span to replace with the BRO funds.
Late last year, all counties in the state were asked to obligate all of the their BRO funds. Phelps County’s balance of BRO funds totaled $285,854.74 as of Nov. 27, 2012. The county's soft match funds totaled $18,143.38.
A soft match is a credit earned by counties that replaces their deficient bridges with local funding. This soft match can be used in lieu of the 20 percent local match on bridge projects.
Other bridges on the list are located in the following areas:
County Road 5120 over the Little Dry Fork, 28.7 percent sufficiency rating.
County Road 6410 over Spring Creek, 33.1 percent sufficiency rating, 10-ton weight limit.
County Road 1420 over Bowen Creek, 40.1 percent sufficiency rating, 12-ton weight limit.
County Road 8410 over Spring Creek, 43.7 percent sufficiency rating.
County Road 2110 over a branch of Spring Creek, 46.7 percent sufficiency rating.
County Road 1290 over Lanes Fork, 47 percent sufficiency rating, 12-ton weight limit.
County Road 3000 over Little Dry Fork Creek, 55.9 percent sufficiency rating, 15-ton weight limit.
County Road 6590 over Spring Creek, 56.7 percent sufficiency rating.
County Road 2220 over Bourbeuse River, 57.9 percent sufficiency rating.
County Road 3620 over a branch of the Dry Fork Creek, 61.2 percent sufficiency rating, 10-ton weight limit.
County Road 6190 over a branch of the Little Piney Creek, 65.3 percent sufficiency rating.
While the Grotto Bridge over the Little Piney Creek on County Road 7530 has the lowest sufficiency rating (18.5 percent) of the 17 bridges on the list, the county vacated that bridge in January.