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Jefferson City bridge reopens after tanker crash
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A capital city bridge damaged in a tanker truck crash has been torn down, redesigned, rebuilt and reopened in just five weeks.
A Nov. 27 accident on U.S. 54 resulted in a fiery explosion that killed the truck driver and badly damaged the nearby Jefferson Street overpass.
The Missouri Department of Transportation awarded an emergency contract to demolish and rebuild the bridge on Dec. 5. Crews then worked 24-hours a day -- even through an ice storm and snow. The bridge reopened to traffic Thursday morning, several days ahead of schedule.
To put the super-speedy construction in context: A typical bridge of the same size would take about one year to design and three months to build, said Eric Schroeter, an assistant district engineer for the transportation department.
But the faster pace and wintertime construction came with a higher price: Nearly $1.3 million instead of the typical $800,000 for a bridge, Schroeter said.
State highway officials made the bridge replacement an emergency because it is located in the middle of Jefferson City, with about 27,000 vehicles passing underneath daily on U.S. 54 and an additional 1,000 driving over it, Schroeter said. The bridge connects motorists to several schools and churches and is a major route for fire trucks and ambulances.
Among the items sacrificed to the hasty schedule was the opportunity for public comment about the bridge design and construction. But the transportation department threw in a perk for pedestrians -- a 6-foot-wide sidewalk over the bridge instead of the previous 4-foot-wide walkway.