Minnow Creek has caused a whale-sized headache for those who regularly use Munger Lane. Early Thursday morning, a portion of the bridge collapsed after rain water runoff in Minnow Creek eroded a portion of the earth that supported the asphalt surface.


Minnow Creek has caused a whale-sized headache for those who regularly use Munger Lane. Early Thursday morning, a portion of the bridge collapsed after rain water runoff in Minnow Creek eroded a portion of the earth that supported the asphalt surface.
“It looks like the old corrugated culverts got plugged up by floating debris. Water worked in and around those culverts undermining the roadway. That’s what caused the collapse,” said Hannibal City Engineer Mark Rees.
Rees is thankful the problem was discovered before it caused an accident.
“We’re lucky that the police found it first,” said Rees. “From what I understand the water never get over road, but we wouldn’t have wanted anybody driving across that either.”
Rees didn’t learn of the problem until hours later.
“I actually heard about it on the radio on the way in to work this morning about 7:30 a.m.,” he said. “The mayor and I came out here immediately before I even sat at my desk. The street superintendent was already on site securing it and called the utility locators to locate their utilities. When I got back to the office I called the consultant to try to get this process going.”
Among the utilities with personnel at the site Thursday morning was Atmos Energy. David Hinds, operating supervisor for Atmos Energy in Bowling Green and Hannibal, said the 2-inch plastic pipe that runs adjacent to the bridge was not damaged and that service was not lost by either of the two customers the pipeline serves.
Hinds anticipates having to relocate the pipe when the city addresses the problem, which Rees says will occur quickly. After meeting with a consultant Thursday morning, Rees already has a plan in mind. 
“What we discussed is coming back with a pre-cast concrete culvert to replace this. It’s typical of what MoDOT would use and it would be good construction for now and our future needs,” he said.
Rees estimates the project could take up to six weeks to complete. Rees is uncertain exactly where the money will come from to pay for the $150,000 replacement.
“We need to get the bridge open. Then we’ll worry about how to fund it,” he said, adding that the city has already been told that state money will not be available.
Despite the closing of Munger Lane, TJ’s Supper Club remains open.
“The only thing it effects is the little bridge to the north of TJ’s. We’re open and are welcoming business. I don’t want them to be afraid to drive down Munger Lane to get to us,” said Gayla Curry, owner of TJ’s, noting that the restaurant will remain open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Curry admits being concerned that customers will stay away.
“I think it will hurt because it’s not a through road. We’re a little worried about that. That’s why we want to get the word out that we’re still open and business is as usual,” she said.

As for emergency services, Fire Chief Tim Carter says it will mean only a two- or three-block longer trip to reach buildings on the south side of Minnow Creek.
The bridge problem on Munger Lane was not expected since it was inspected only a month-and-a-half ago.

“A representative from MoDOT visits us every year. We look at all the bridges that are a certain size and certain length that aren’t bridges that MoDOT takes care of and that the city is responsible for,” said Rees. “In fact we had it (Munger Lane bridge) slated this next construction year to do some maintenance work on it. It would have been pouring a concrete bottom in the corrugated metal culvert and adding toe walls to help the scouring and erosion around it. It looks like Mother Nature beat us to it.”