COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Work started Wednesday on the Ridgemont Bridge in west Columbia.
Crews closed the bridge off College Park Drive and Highridge Drive for construction. The work is expected to last until spring or summer of 2024.
City officials have advised drivers to use Forum and Stadium Boulevards to get around the closure.
City officials say the bridge was built in the 1960's but has deteriorated over the years making it a safety concern. The bridge was constructed to hold a capacity of five tons but that number has now fallen to three tons. That means vehicles larger than a pickup truck, including school buses, snowplows, and fire trucks, are too heavy to cross.
Public Works Spokesman John Ogan said that it's important crews replace the bridge because of safety concerns and to improve emergency response times.
"It's important that we address aging infrastructure. This is simply going to be necessary and it's for the long-term well-being of the community. It's to provide safety and to eventually improve service time," Ogan said.
According to Ogan, the reconstruction will cost $775,000 and will be partially funded by the Missouri Department of Transportation. The remaining cost will be funded by a Capital Improvement sales tax.
Once finished, the bridge is expected to be able to hold a weight of 38 tons making it capable of larger vehicles to cross, and sidewalks will be added.