Moving one bridge to build another

MoDOT plans to temporarily move Hurricane Deck Bridge

A group of public hearing attendees study a geological representation of the terrain surrounding the Hurricane Deck Bridge on Missouri 5 near Sunrise Beach. The bridge is scheduled for replacement starting sometime next year.

A group of public hearing attendees study a geological representation of the terrain surrounding the Hurricane Deck Bridge on Missouri 5 near Sunrise Beach. The bridge is scheduled for replacement starting sometime next year. Photo by Ceil Abbott.

Employees with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) say the public has shown no opposition to the replacement of the 75-year-old Hurricane Deck Bridge, on Missouri 5, across the main channel of the Lake. However, there does seem to be a lot of curiosity about just how MoDOT intends to accomplish the feat without causing a two-year interruption of traffic.

According to MoDOT engineer Bob Lynch, most of the questions about the project have centered on MoDOT’s plan to move the old Hurricane Deck Bridge aside to make way for the construction of a new bridge and still keep the old bridge in use until the project is complete.

Lynch said while the plan to move the old bridge is certainly an innovative way of keeping Missouri 5 traffic moving while the construction project is ongoing, it isn’t a completely new way of handling the situation.

In fact, he said, that is exactly how one construction contractor handled a similar project when he built a 600-foot long span across a Canadian river.

To demonstrate that the innovative idea is, in fact, a tried and true method of bridge replacement, MoDOT put a video of that project on display during a public hearing held last week in Sunrise Beach.

In the video, construction contractors sunk temporary pilings into the river, then using a system of rollers, slid the old bridge onto those temporary pilings and built a new bridge on top of the original support structure while vehicles continued to use the old span to cross the river.

When the new bridge was completed and traffic diverted onto its span, the old bridge was dismantled and the temporary pilings were removed from the river and saved for use on other projects.

Lynch said that is the exactly how MoDOT plans to replace the Hurricane Deck Bridge with only minimal interruptions in the flow of traffic on Missouri 5.


Courtesy of Uwe Aschemeier, Terracon

Members of the Terracon’s research engineering crew prepare to dive down beside the Hurricane Deck Bridge base as a stand-alone drilling rig lower down the needed equipment used to extract additional “core” samples from the Hurricane Deck Bridge’s existing piers in both foundation and bedrock in February.

“By using this method we’re only going to have to close Highway 5 to traffic for a maximum of five to seven days, while the old bridge is moved,” Lynch said.

Lynch said the idea for moving the old bridge and still using it for traffic while a new bridge is built was the brainchild of a private design firm.

He said while MoDOT has in-house bridge designers it is the policy of the department to contract with a private designer when a new bridge will be more than 1,000 feet in length. He said the safety features needed for a span of that size requires the knowledge and experience of an expert in bridge design.

Soon after MoDOT determined that the Hurricane Deck Bridge needed to be replaced the agency hired a private contractor to determine the best method of accomplishing that goal. Lynch said the designer studied the current bridge and its underlying support structure and determined that the piers, which support the span, were still in “excellent shape” and could be safely reused to support a new bridge.

“What they found when they inspected the old piers was that beneath the surface of the Lake they’re in excellent shape and would provide decades of safe support if a new span was built onto them,” Lynch said. “By being able to use the original support structure the department (MoDOT) will save $5 million in construction costs because we won’t have to sink new piers into the Lake floor.”

Following the 2007 collapse of an I-35 bridge near Minneapolis, Minn., MoDOT inspected all the bridges of that design in the state. When those inspections were completed, the agency determined that for the safety of the traveling public many of those bridges would have to be replaced.

The only bridge of the cantilevered deck truss design still remaining in the Lake Area was the Hurricane Deck Bridge. Built between 1934-36 by the Stupp Brothers Bridge and Iron Company of St. Louis, the bridge won an award as the most beautiful steel structure of that era. However, it has been rated in “poor condition” by several state and federal agencies and its replacement has been deemed “necessary for the safety of the traveling public.”

An environmental study of the Lake and surrounding construction area has been completed and the project is currently in the “public comment” stage. Once that stage has been completed, MoDOT will put the project out for bid. Lynch said the hope is that enough construction contractors that are familiar with the desired construction process will submit bids so MoDOT can stay within its $25 million project budget.

“Of course, the contractors may also have some ideas on how to tweak the design plans a bit to make the whole project flow smoothly,” Lynch said. “And that’s fine if they know a better way of accomplishing the same goal we want to hear about it. So long as their plans keep Highway 5 open to traffic while construction is underway and they stay within our $25 million project budget.”

Lynch said local landowners will also be asked to grant “some temporary right-ofway” so new approaches can be built to the old bridge once it is moved. He said that rightof-way would be returned to the landowners once project is complete.

Construction is set to begin sometime in 2012 and take approximately two years to complete.


One Westside bridge down, two to go

By Ceil Abbott

The Lake Today

After six weeks of detours, drivers using Route D, west of Ha Ha Tonka State Park, will be able to reach their destinations without traveling over hot, dusty gravel roads.

The project to replace the Route D Bridge over Spencer Creek, just west of the entrance to the Ha Ha Tonka Spring picnic area, has been completed and the roadway will reopen to traffic this week.

However, while drivers in that area may be able to return to their regular commuter routes well before school starts, another bridge replacement project on the Westside will take place later this fall and a third one is set to begin sometime next year.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) says it will close a section of Missouri 5, near Gravois Mills, immediately after the Versailles Apple Festival ends in October and detour traffic over Missouri 135 and Route J in Morgan County.

Missouri 5 will be closed to through traffic, near the Morgan County R-II School District’s South Elementary Building, while contractors build a new bridge across Soap Creek.

Both the Soap Creek and Spencer Creek Bridges are being replaced as part of MoDOT’s Safe and Sound Bridges Project designed to replace or repair 802 aging bridges around the state during a five-year period.

Several bridges in the Lake Area are part of the Safe and Sound Bridge project. Some of those projects have already been completed and several more are scheduled over the next two years.


Courtesy of Uwe Aschemeier, Terracon

Members of Terracon’s drilling crews prepare the standalone drilling rig, which will lower down the needed equipment used to extract additional “core” samples from the Hurricane Deck Bridge’s existing piers in both foundation and bedrock in February.

Originally the Soap Creek Bridge project was scheduled for May and June of this year, however when residents and businesses objected to having Missouri 5 closed during the height of the tourist season, the project was delayed unitl fall. After several weeks of discussion with the Westside community, MoDOT determined to start the project immediately after the Apple Festival in October and with a completion date prior to the start of the holiday season.

The third Westside bridge scheduled for replacement, the Hurricane Deck Bridge near Sunrise Beach, is not a part of the Safe and Sound Bridges program but is nevertheless scheduled for replacement in 2012.

A starting date for that $25 million project hasn’t yet been named, however MoDOT engineers say it will begin sometime after June 2012 and take approximately two years to complete.

Two other bridge replacement projects in Miller County are also scheduled for next year. The 86-year-old Saline Creek Bridge and the Dog Creek Bridge are both located on Missouri 17 near Tuscumbia. Because it will be necessary to close that roadway to traffic during both construction projects, MoDOT is considering the possibility of scheduling them for the same time.

The cost of the Saline Creek Bridge replacement project is being handled through MoDOT’s 2011-15 STIP (Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan), but the replacement of the Dog Creek Bridge is part of the $700 million Safe and Sound Bridges Project which began in 2007 and is expected to be completed by 2013.


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