The U.S. 54 bridge over the Mississippi River in Louisiana, known as the Champ Clark Bridge, will be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, June 13 through Friday, June 17, to conduct the annual full-depth inspection.
The bridge will be open for the weekend, then will be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, June 20 through Friday, June 24.
"Bridge crews out of Jefferson City will bring what's called the Snooper truck to help perform the inspection of the lower part of the bridge," said Brian Haeffner, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) area engineer.
A lift will be used to allow inspectors to check out the upper parts of the truss.
"Safety concerns and the continued deterioration of the bridge require us to close the bridge during the inspection," Haeffner said. "We know this is inconvenient, but we are giving users of the bridge advance notice so they can plan accordingly."
One overnight closure
During the daytime closure, MoDOT maintenance crews plan to repair some joints and will stripe the bridge.
"There will be one night we have to keep the bridge closed overnight to perform some preliminary engineering work to help prepare for a new bridge," Haeffner said.
The overnight closure date has not been determined yet, but will be communicated as soon as possible.
Unless something significant is found immediately, MoDOT will not have the results of the inspection for at least two weeks after it is completed on the bridge.
Funding for new bridge
"This bridge is the highest priority for replacement of large rural bridges in Missouri, and funding has been identified in our draft five-year transportation program," Haeffner said. "This is a draft program and will hopefully be approved at the July Commission meeting."
The estimated cost to replace the bridge is $60 million, and will be shared equally with the Illinois Department of Transportation.
"The Champ Clark Bridge is inspected annually due to its condition, and each year we are more concerned about the results," Haeffner said.
The bridge has a posted weight limit of 40 tons, which eliminated any overweight and over-dimension vehicles crossing the bridge.
"We are doing what we can to keep the bridge open until we can replace it," Haeffner said.
For information about the Champ Clark Bridge, visit www.champclarkbridge.com or call MoDOT customer service at 1-888-275-6636.