County Commission closes Farm Road 2100 bridge

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Barry County Commission is advising area residents the bridge on Farm Road 2100 over Shoal Creek near Highway HH has been closed, at the recommendation of Great River Engineering of Springfield, consultants for the county.

The engineering firm recently advised the commission the weight limit for the bridge should be reduced to five tons, as the firm did not believe the bridge was safe. Signs stating that directive were posted, however, trucks surpassing that weight limit apparently continued crossing the bridge, said Cherry Warren, Barry County presiding commissioner.

"Upon the recommendation of the engineer, we closed it," Warren said. "They're the consultants because we don't have that expertise. So, we pretty well do what they say. It's [the bridge] got metal culverts that are old and giving way from being rusted out."

Now, the low-water crossing bridge, which has already been on the county's radar for replacement, is blocked so no vehicles can cross it.

"We've had it on the replacement list for some time," said Gary Youngblood, Barry County clerk. "We bid it last fall, but it was way more than we wanted to spend, so we're going to rebid it sometime in the near future."

According to Warren, residents use the bridge for a cutoff, but its closing should not pose much of an inconvenience, and residents' safety

takes priority.

The bridge is located west of Longview Church, which is south of Purdy, or north of Wheaton near Highway HH.

"There are a couple of roads east and west [of the bridge] residents can use to get around it," Youngblood said.

"It's pretty heavily-traveled, but the good part is, a school bus doesn't use the route, and it's not very far because there are crossroads about every mile," Warren said.

Warren added the county has built or replaced nearly 80 bridges in the last 20 years, including two bridges about a mile south of the Farm Road 2100 bridge, and another one mile north.

"I like building bridges because they will always be there," Warren said. "It's a big improvement, and it provides safety for your people."

Warren said county funds should be available to replace the bridge.

"We have the money and we can bid it," he said. "Great River Engineering will put out a bid specification for the bridge. They've already done a hydraulic study. Then the commission will use their specs, then advertise for bids. Then, we'll have a public bid opening. We always reserve the right to reject bids we think are too high."

Warren estimated once a contractor is secured and construction begins, a new bridge could be completed in about 60-90 days.

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