The bridge replacement over Soap Creek on Route 5 will not be happening this spring.


Part of the Missouri Department of Transportation's Safe & Sound Bridge program, the improvement was originally scheduled to close Route 5, with traffic being detoured onto State Route J and Highway 135, for approximately 50 days this May and June.


The bridge replacement over Soap Creek on Route 5 will not be happening this spring.

Part of the Missouri Department of Transportation's Safe & Sound Bridge program, the improvement was originally scheduled to close Route 5, with traffic being detoured onto State Route J and Highway 135, for approximately 50 days this May and June.

After hearing concerns from the village of Gravois Mills, the city of Versailles and local businesses and organizations about closing the highway during the prime tourist season and concerns from area emergency service agencies, MoDOT officials decided to reschedule the project.

It should go forward this fall instead, according to MoDOT District 5 Area Engineer Bob Lynch.

The state agency had originally slated the work for this spring in order to accommodate the area schools —  the primary one being Morgan County R-II.

Superintendent Jeff Carter has estimated that the detour could cost the district thousands of dollars in additional fuel expenses depending on when it falls. The spring timeline would have limited the impact as the closing would have fallen only partially during the school year.

School officials also had concerns regarding longer bus rides and safety for students on the narrow, winding detour.

MoDOT is scheduled to meet with school, city, emergency service and business leaders next week to determine the exact timeline for the project this fall in order to better serve the needs of all these entities.

The Safe & Sound Bridge program aims to replace or improve 802 state bridges considered to be in the poorest condition by October 2013.

Contact WestSide Star Editor Amy Wilson at amy.wilson@westsidestar.net.