One route between Missouri and Nebraska open; a 2nd will take awhile

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Damage done to the Little Tarkio Creek Bridge near Fortescue/Photo courtesy of Missouri Dept. of Transportation

By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

A route has reopened between northwest Missouri and southeast Nebraska after Missouri transportation officials devised a “work around” to get over the Missouri River.

It will take some time before the regular route over U.S. Highway 159 from I-29 to Rulo, Nebraska is fixed.

Resident Missouri Department of Transportation Engineer Larry Jacobson in the Maryville office says floodwaters continue to prevent work to replace the Little Tarkio Creek Bridge near Fortescue, heavily damaged by the floods this year.

“So, right now it’s not even safe to try to get out there to remove the bridge that is unsupported,” Jacobson tells St. Joseph Post.

Jacobson says a 40-foot, plus scour hole has undermined the bridge’s stability. Backwater from the Missouri River has prevented the contractor from reaching the bridge to assess the damage and begin repairs. What seemed like a job which could be completed by the end of the year, might not be repaired until next spring.

Access to the Brownville bridge over the Missouri River, farther north on U.S. Highway 136, remains blocked.

Jacobson says contractors are busy removing debris and repairing shoulder pavement on Highway 136. He says crews haven’t been able to get to some of the routes damaged by the floods.

“Some of the roadways have a lot more debris on them than we’ve seen in the past and there is a lot more sand deposited in our ditches in the drainage areas,” according to Jacobson. “That’s the other thing that seems to be causing a problem that a lot of these ditches and drainage areas, they’re not draining, because we’ve had so much silt and sand drop in them.”

Still, Jacobson says he finally feels like progress is being made after the floods of mid-March and late May.

“It’s been a frustrating year, because we tried to get out these plans as soon as possible, so we’ve been designing it on the fly as we go,” Jacobson says. “Luckily, it’s pretty easy to do. It’s just fill in the rock, try to figure out how much pavement is gone, and to replace.”