Summary of last week's bridge damage from flooding
Sunday, May 07, 2017
Three bridges were completely obliterated by the force of unprecedented flash flooding.
Bruns Bridge, Franklin County, MO
This wrought-iron Pratt through truss, built 1888 by the King Bridge Co., was a major loss. The bridge, which had been bypassed by a modern bridge in 1993, was pushed off its abutments by flash flooding on Meramec River. Video on social media shows that the truss briefly remained in one piece until it crashed into the UCEB downstream.
Although in theory the bridge could be salvaged -- the bridge at Old Appleton, Missouri, is proof of that -- that seems hopeless since the Franklin County commission has proven to be hostile to historic bridges.
At one time Franklin County had one of the premier collections of historic bridges in Missouri, but the county commission has been hell-bent in recent years in eliminating them. The Bend Road Bridge, in particular, is an ideal candidate for preservation as part of an extension of the Ozark Trail, but the commissioners are all too eager to see it bulldozed, apparently out of spite. They are also keen on demolishing a pin-connected Camelback (Shawnee Ford Bridge). With the future replacement of the Washington Bridge over the Missouri River, Franklin County will soon have only one remaining through truss bridge on its roads -- and who knows how much longer it will be allowed to remain.
James Bridge, Ozark County, MO
Flash flooding on the North Fork White River wiped out this bridge on Route PP. One of the two pony truss spans was completely flipped over. Built in 1958, this was a very late truss bridge to be built on the Missouri state highway system, and it was notable for having two pony truss spans that were exceptionally long (190 feet). This bridge was already slated for replacement. Considered to be National Register eligible, it had been offered for adaptive reuse earlier this year but with no takers.
Hammond Bridge, Ozark County, MO
This bridge, across North Fork White River in Ozark County, was also completely wiped out. The spans were pushed downstream a considerable distance. Built in 1975, this steel stringer bridge with concrete Jersey barriers had little historical value, but it does show that even UCEBs are susceptible to disasters.
A story in Ozark County Times newspaper included this amusing quote from Ozark County presiding commissioner John Turner: "Most of the old bridges are fine, the ones built in the 40s and by the WPA. But some of the newer bridges are just gone."
The following bridges survived but had damage to the approaches:
Little Creek Route JJ Bridge, Ozark County, MO
Although this pony truss survived the flash flood, the roadway approaching the bridge was completely washed out. Built in 1923 in Texas County and then relocated here in 1956, this bridge had been offered for adaptive reuse with no takers, and was already scheduled for replacement this summer.
Old US 66 Gasconade River Bridge, Laclede County, MO
The Gasconade River shattered the record as it crested here at 40.08 feet, over 5 feet above the previous record of 34.92 feet set in 2008. Floodwaters covered the eastern span of the bridge and damaged the asphalt pavement on the east approach. The fast-moving water also stripped the pavement on a portion of adjacent Interstate 44.
Although the historic 1924 bridge seems to have survived intact, the flooding is certainly bad news for the structure's deteriorating condition. MoDOT intends to build a bridge on a new alignment with the option for a responsible party to take over the old bridge for pedestrian use.
Devils Elbow Bridge, Pulaski County, MO
The Big Piney River also shattered records, sending floodwaters over the deck of another Route 66 bridge: the through truss at Devils Elbow. Thankfully this bridge was restored in recent years, putting it in a better position to withstand the floodwaters that washed across the deck. Like at the Gasconade, the pavement approaching this bridge was damaged.
The village of Devils Elbow suffered severe damage as some buildings were washed away, and the Elbow Inn (located next to the bridge) was inundated by five feet of water.
Jerome Railroad Bridge, Phelps County, MO
This through truss bridge over the Gasconade River between Jerome and Arlington withstood the flood, but the approaches were washed out, and huge piles of debris were left on the deck.
Burfordville Covered Bridge, Cape Girardeau County, MO
A flash flood on Whitewater River damaged the asphalt on the east approach. This is a fairly typical occurence here, however.
Old Appleton Bridge, Cape Girardeau/Perry counties, MO
The Old Appleton Bridge, a wrought-iron 1879 Pratt through truss, was wiped out by a flash flood in 1982 and then rebuilt years later using a majority of original material. Thankfully, when the bridge was restored, it was raised to a higher elevation to prevent another flash flood disaster. This time, the raging waters of Apple Creek just barely reached the bridge, but didn't cause any damage.
Halsey Bridge, Union/jackson counties, IL
Traffic on the Union Pacific Railroad continued even as the Big Muddy River reached the lower chord of this through truss.
These bridges along the Mississippi River have been flooded by backwater, but this occurs regularly when the river is high. Although backwater doesn't move with nearly as much force as flash flooding, the toxic soup found in floodwaters could lead to long-term deterioration.
Windsor Harbor Bridge, Jefferson County, MO
Joachim Creek US 61/67 Bridge, Jefferson County, MO
Gale Bridge, Alexander County, IL
The following historic bridges cross rivers that had record or near-record crests. Although they probably escaped unscathed, I haven't heard specifically if these bridges suffered any damage. They are all vulnerable to flooding, and in many cases photos on social media showed water reaching the bridge deck.
Valley Park Railroad Bridge, St. Louis County, MO - Drone photos show that considerable water from the Meramec River was rushing across the bridge deck, but this bridge did survive an even higher crest in December 2015.
Morse Mill Bridge, Jefferson County, MO - Water was rushing across the south end of the main span.
Moscow Mills Bridge, Lincoln County, MO - The Cuivre River reached above the bridge deck.
Roubidoux Bridge, Pulaski County, MO - Water came close to the tops of the arches.
Galena Y Bridge, Stone County, MO - The water reached nearly to the deck, almost completely inundating the arches
Beaver Bridge, Carroll County, AR - Water rose above the deck at the bridge's ends, although this has happened numerous times before
Devils Elbow Arch Bridge, Pulaski County, MO
Washington State Park Bridge, Washington County, MO
Westphalia Bridge, Osage County, MO
Gascondy Bridge, Osage County, MO
Caplinger Mills Bridge, Cedar County, MO
Ozark Mill Bridge, Christian County, MO
Riverside Bridge, Christian County, MO
Hebron Bridge, Douglas County, MO
Riverton Bridge, Oregon County, MO
Eleven Point MO 19 Bridge, Oregon County, MO
Eleven Point MO 142 Bridge, Oregon County, MO
Hargrove Bridge, Butler County, MO
Frumet Bridge, Jefferson County, MO
Byrnesville Bridge, Jefferson County, MO
US 66 Meramec River Bridge, St. Louis County, MO
Old Monroe Bridge, Lincoln County, MO
Flat Creek MO 39 Bridge, Barry County, MO
Kimberling City Bridge, Stone County, MO
Eminence Bridge, Shannon County, MO
Zalma Bridge, Bollinger County, MO