A landowner west of Rolla who was described as “uncooperative” by Phelps County officials may be a hurdle in building a replacement or temporary crossing after a county bridge failed last month.
A landowner west of Rolla who was described as "uncooperative" by Phelps County officials may be a hurdle in building a replacement or temporary crossing after a county bridge failed last month.
The deck of County Road 7050 bridge, located off County Road 7000, less than a mile south of Martin Springs Drive, failed July 12. After a Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) inspection July 15, a 3-ton weight limit was placed on the bridge.
Since then, county officials have been weighing their options as what to do next since the weight restrictions prohibit fire trucks, garbage trucks and other large vehicles from crossing the bridge.
Among the options discussed is building either a replacement bridge or a temporary crossing upstream or downstream until a new, permanent bridge can be built at the existing site.
A temporary crossing would provide access to residents along County Road 7050, who would have no other way out if the existing bridge were to close.
During the Aug. 1 county commission meeting, District Two County Commissioner Gary Hicks said he left his card at a residence near the bridge on County Road 7050.
Hicks was later contacted and said the individual he spoke with was "not cooperative," but noted that a replacement or temporary crossing is "a public safety issue."
County Road Superintendent Walter Snelson added that the landowner does not want anyone on the property, which surrounds the bridge.
Snelson said on county roads, the county's right-of-way extends generally 25 feet from the center of the road, which would not be enough room to build a new or temporary crossing.
However, Presiding County Commissioner Randy Verkamp said with a bridge, the right-of-way may likely be more than 25 feet from the center of the road.
"The right-of-way of bridges on state roads includes the approaches, but we're not the state," Verkamp said.
County officials are also waiting to hear from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) about constructing a new crossing over Beaver Creek at the site as well as the results of a hydrology study being conducted by Archer-Elgin, of Rolla.
Once answers are heard on those two fronts, one option for a replacement crossing is to use railcars.
In addition to the hydrology study, the county commission asked Archer-Elgin for an assessment of the existing County Road 7050 bridge.
A letter dated July 25 from Jeff Medows, of Archer-Elgin, states that "based upon the findings of our inspection, it is our opinion that (the) current substructure of this bridge has deteriorated to a point that is beyond reasonable, economical and reliable repair.
"It is our opinion that the remedial efforts to repair the scouring and bridge support improvements would bring the cost of the temporary repair to approach the cost of a similarly sized new structure … A potential immediate remedy may be to remove some of the superstructure and return the bridge to its initially low water crossing."
The letter also states that because the material beneath at least one support structure of the bridge has eroded away because of the creek, without proper support underneath, a new structural reinforced concrete slab over the existing slab would fail in a short amount of time.