Old Appleton gets new bridge

Saturday, September 24, 2005
Larry Hull guided the restored main truss of the Old Appleton bridge into place across Apple Creek Friday afternoon in Old Appleton. Two cranes were used to lift the span after the south end was floated across the creek on a small barge. (FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@ semissourian.com)

More than two decades since a flash flood ripped down Old Appleton's historic bridge, a contractor hoisted the iron truss frame of the bridge into place Friday afternoon.

Mayor Kevin Amschler said earlier this week that the decking and handrails for the bridge should be complete within two months.

"It's a good thing, and it should reunite the town," Amschler said about the bridge going up. "Right now the creek kind of splits the town in half between the Perry and Cape county sides."

In April, the Old Appleton Town Board awarded a $519,000 contract to A.E. Simpson Construction of Scott City.

Amschler said federal money from the Missouri Department of Transportation will pay 80 percent of the cost to replace the bridge. Private donations and money from the town's road fund will pay the local share.

At the end of July the town ran into some problems coming up with funding for the decking and handrails. But Amschler said the town had several more fund raisers and more donations were made after media coverage was done about the bridge.

"We should be able to cover it but it's going to come down to the very last dime," he said. "There's still some promised money that we should be receiving so if everyone comes through, we should be all right."

The town is expected to award the decking and handrail project to a contractor within a week.

Old Appleton residents Art and Rene Dellamano can still remember when the bridge came down and look forward to walking across it again in the near future.

"I've walked across it so many times before and now I can hardly believe it's going back up," Rene Dellamano said. "It's painted red, and it will look beautiful in the sunset."

The Dellamanos were part of the original bridge committee that formed after the bridge was destroyed on Dec. 3, 1982. The couple took immediate charge of a campaign to raise money for a replacement.

According to the Dellamanos, the bridge will link together the 82-resident town.

The bridge committee had numerous fund raisers, including quilt, T-shirt and Christmas card sales.

The bridge was orginally built in 1879 at a cost of $2,500.

jfreeze@semissourian.com

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