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Multiple Cole County bridges in disrepair

Multiple bridges in Cole County are in critical need of repair.

The bridge over Moniteau Creek on Moniteau Creek Road in northern Cole County is permanently closing. A recent Missouri Department of Transportation inspection found the 101-year-old bridge was no longer safe for drivers.

Four other bridges in the county are on the deficient list, which means the bridges need major repairs or replacement, according to Cole County Engineer Eric Landwehr.

The bridge over the Moreau River on Tanner Bridge Road is one of the bridges on that list.

For the next several weeks, Cole County Public Works will shut down one lane of the road from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to make repairs to the bridge.

Replacing bridges in deficient condition is rarely done because it is extremely expensive.

“We don’t replace a whole lot of bridges,” Landwehr said. “It costs a lot to do it. Our preferred method is to maintain them. It’s no more simple than that. As soon as you build a bridge, it starts to deteriorate.”

The cost to replace the bridge over Moniteau Creek would cost more than $1 million, according to Landwehr. Because of the high cost and a nearby alternate route, the county is not replacing the bridge.

All bridges in the state are inspected by MoDOT every two years. Once a bridge is put on the deficient list, it qualifies for some federal funds administrated by MoDOT. But the funds are not enough to replace a bridge.

Without the county’s half-cent sales tax for capital improvements, there would not be adequate funds to make repairs or maintain bridges, according to Landwehr.

“Through that funding, we’ve been able to come up with a bridge maintenance plan that kind of guides us in making decisions on preventative maintenance measures that are needed on certain bridges,” Landwehr said.

Tuesday, Cole County voters will decide whether to extend the half-cent sales tax that has been in place for 30 years.

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