Sloan Creek bridge on list of trust fund projects

Friday, March 6, 2015

Included in the eight recommended projects to be funded by Transportation Trust Fund 5 revenue is the replacement of the Sloan Creek bridge on Big Bend Road.

It's one of the lowest priced projects on the list at $1 million but is among the city's biggest infrastructure update needs. Voter renewal of the half-cent transportation tax in August is required to fund the projects, which await formal approval from the city council.

The bridge over the Mississippi River tributary is near the intersection of Big Bend Road and North End Boulevard, just north of Isle Casino Cape Girardeau. It's used frequently by residents in Ward 1's Red Star neighborhood and is also in the path of a popular truck route.

City engineer Casey Brunke said the bridge will have to be replaced at some point, and placing it on the list of TTF 5 projects was an attempt to be proactive and replace the bridge before more significant damage can occur.

"At some point, we're going to have to replace the bridge," she said, noting the city prefers to take action sooner rather than later.

Sloan Creek bridge has experienced a few problems over the years, which led to periodic closures.

In 2011, heavy spring rains caused a 100-foot section near the bridge to sink, prompting an embankment failure.

The city solved the problem by hauling in crushed stone to replace the earthen embankment and areas around the bridge to guard against failures.

Brunke said that issue is separate from the problem the city faces now.

"We do go out and monitor [the bridge], so it's not sinking or anything," she said. "The problem is just your everyday wear and tear. If you walk around it, you can see exposed rebar that's starting to rust. It's not in the best condition."

The deterioration is more visible underneath the bridge, and Brunke said the average driver passing over the bridge likely wouldn't notice anything. It may not be in ideal condition, but it's far from collapsing, she said.

The one detail that might tip off a motorist is attention to the reduced weight limit allowed over the bridge.

Bridge inspections conducted by the Missouri Department of Transportation over the past few years have resulted in lower levels of allowed tonnage to drive over Sloan Creek bridge.

Over time, that number would continue to decrease, Brunke said, which would negatively affect the truck route running through the area. The city wants to make sure that doesn't happen.

After researching options, officials determined replacing the structure, rather than repairing it, was the best solution.

"Yes, we would have to close it while we build a new bridge, but that's better than it eventually failing," Brunke said.

srinehart@semissourian.com

388-3641

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