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Weight limit on a Boone Co. bridge is reduced significantly

A more than 80-year-old bridge on the Columbia city limits is now off limits to school buses, fire trucks and other essential vehicles.

This has more a dozen families worried for their safety Tuesday night.

The bridge is on Rustic Road just east of Columbia near the Southeast city limits.

The road is shared between the city and the county.

It is also the only way for people to cross the north fork of the Grindstone Creek.

“When you watch cars come over, it’s just like what is it going to take to snap it?” said Melanie Spradling.

Melanie and her husband Stuart Spradling have been fighting for the last five years for this bridge to be fixed.

They have seen the weight limit on the bridge go from 40 tons, to 15 tons, and Tuesday it’s now 3 tons.

The average weight of a trash truck is over 25 tons.

A school bus weighs at least 14 tons, and a fire truck weighs over 14 tons.

“In the event of a fire, at this point our fire trucks would cross the bridge…they would have to, in hopes that it would support them one more time,” said Gale Blomenkamp, with the Boone County Fire Department.

However, for more than a dozen families, they have to cross that bridge everyday. It is the only way to get to their house.

“I understand the safety issue, and I don’t disagree with them reducing the weight limit if the bridge can’t handle it, but what are you doing to fix the problem,” said Keith Strausser a resident on Rustic Road.

A problem with the bridge has been clear since a 2011 inspection report found the bridge to be structurally deficient.

Since then the city and county have taken responsibility and tell ABC 17 News that a plan is in place.

However, nothing has happened yet.

“Federal highway has to be the ones to release the funds. When i talked to MoDOT today they said they had requested that but they have no idea when that’s coming,” said Darin Campbell, the chief engineer of Boone County Public Works.

Campbell was not able to even estimate a time when he thinks they will receive the funds.

But told ABC 17 News that a plan is in place and they are ready to go.

The city and county are splitting the cost to replace the bridge, along with the federal funds.

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