A structural evaluation of the endangered Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge estimates construction costs for rehabilitation at $1.9 million with total costs, including design and other fees, at more than $2.5 million.

The 16-page report from Sparks Engineering Inc. of San Antonio was released publicly today on the Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge Guardians' Facebook page.

The Guardians, who have been trying to save the deteriorating bridge since the Missouri Department of Transportation closed it in December 2014, have been given until spring of next year to find a new owner who will rehabilitate the bridge for pedestrian, bicycle and recreational use. Otherwise, MoDOT plans to demolish the century-old structure. A replacement bridge is under construction between the old bridge and Interstate 44.

"Roamin Rich" Dinkela and Judy Wallmark of the Guardians plan to meet with the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society next Tuesday to discuss their save-the-bridge campaign. The Route 66 Society previously contributed $1,000 toward the engineering study.

Dinkela and Wallmark also plan to meet with the Laclede County Commission.

The report's executive summary says, in part:

Our evaluation found that the primary deficiencies in the bridge are the deterioration of the concrete deck and the inadequate bridge railing. The steel superstructure and concrete substructures require some isolated repairs (e.g. horizontal bracing gusset plates) but otherwise are in good condition. 

In general, our recommendations regarding the structural rehabilitation of the bridge are: 

--Replace the concrete bridge deck. 

--Repair/replace corroded steel components, primarily occurring below-deck. 

--Clean and paint the bridge. As an alternative, paint only the bottom-chord and below-deck structure. 

--Replace the bridge rail with one that meets current standards. 

--Repair deteriorated concrete at the piers and abutments, primarily occurring on horizontal exposed surfaces of the pier caps. 

The full report can be downloaded below:


(1) comment

Roamin Rich

While everything mentioned in this article is true it should be known that rehabilitation is not an imminent requirement suggested by the engineer or by the state. The engineer was directed by the guardians to give a cost analysis to rehab the bridge purely for pedestrian use which is far different than for vehicle use. We did not request any feedback in writing to be furnished regarding the lifespan of the bridge if it were to just set there with no rehabilitation measures. In private conversation I was personally told the bridge is in good shape other than a few holes in the deck that should be patched. Other than that the engineering firm was confident the bridge would stand firm, posing no hazard to anyone for, "decades."

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