Bridge inspection under way

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

A "snooper crew" from the Missouri Department of Transportation so far has found nothing to worry about during its special inspection of the Mississippi River bridge at Cape Girardeau.

"I haven't heard of anything major yet," district engineer Scott Meyer said Monday.

The bridge at Cape Girardeau was one of five in Southeast Missouri ordered reinspected after problems were discovered earlier this year in bridges at St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.

"It has been a very cold winter," Meyer said. "To be very sure we're going to look at the major river crossings."

The Paseo Bridge in Kansas City was closed for a day in January after one of its sections rose 8 inches above another because of a fractured steel plate. Some outside lanes were closed on the Blanchette Bridge that carries I-70 traffic over the Missouri River until a problem could be repaired. Both abnormalities were discovered during the bridges' regular inspections.

The snooper crew is using a specialized piece of equipment with telescoping tubing. The tubing has elbows and arms that extend through the truss work and allow the bridge to be viewed from underneath. Without it the inspection would have to be conducted by using binoculars from a boat, Meyer said.

Traffic on the bridge has been reduced to one lane between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. since the inspection began. It is expected to continue through Thursday.

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