LAKE OZARK, Mo. (KMIZ.)
The bridge across the Bagnell Dam at the Lake of the Ozarks is expected to reopen to travelers Friday.
The bridge closed in September. Contractors have repaired the bridge deck, expansion joints, sidewalks and barrier walls. Missouri's Department of Transportation says the construction was necessary because of the age of the bridge.
The bridge was built in 1929. Ameren Missouri owns the dam.
"We realized that the existing bridge deck was in far worse shape than what we anticipated as a result", said MoDOT Resident Engineer Chris Graham.
The bridge -- an important thoroughfare moving traffic around the lake -- is opening just in time for the spring and summer tourism season. The lake is the fifth-most visited tourism location in Missouri and a significant part of Missouri's tourism industry, according to a report from the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. The destination is a major part of the state's tourism industry, which brought more than $13 billion into the state in fiscal 2019, according to the report.
Heavier loads will be restricted when the bridge reopens. The bridge will now have an 18-ton weight restriction to protect the bridge deck and keep the road usable for as long as possible, MoDOT says.
MoDOT will also apply a road surface across the bridge that will help increase the life of the road.
MoDOT says drivers should expect the bridge to close again for several days but it will remain open over the weekends.
"It should be limited to a week duration at which time once we get the epoxy installed and applied then we can open the dam back up to traffic", said Graham.
The project is expected to cost $1.5 million.
To learn more information about the project, click here.