Sean Matlock, project manager, and Steve Campbell, resident engineer, said the crew for L. Krupp Construction of Ellisville, will move on site on Sept. 7. The road into Verona will be closed at Spring River Road at that time. Construction is expected to last 35 working days and be finished in November.
The Verona bridge has five spans and was constructed in 1927. The structure has been listed on the state's Safe and Sound Bridge program, one of 554 bridges in the state due to be replaced. KTU Constructors has the $487 million state contract to replace all the bridges. The Verona bridge has been subcontracted to Krupp. The MoDOT representatives were unable to say what the Verona bridge alone would cost.
Matlock said bridges in the Safe and Sound program are rated from zero (worst) to nine (brand new). The Verona bridge and most of those in the program are rated at a three.
"A bridge rated 'three' is safe to drive but takes a lot of maintenance to keep up," Matlock said. "If the condition drops to a 'two,' we have to close the bridge and fix it."
The new structure will be the same width but will be widened from 20 feet to 32 feet. The new roadway will have 12-foot driving lanes and a four-foot shoulder. The present bridge has no shoulder.
Presently, the bridge has five support pilings. The new bridge will have four. New pilings should be visible within two weeks. Part of MoDOT's strategy for containing costs, Matlock said, is to use pre-fabricated material. The new bridge deck will be pre-fabricated concrete.
According to MoDOT's traffic counts, the bridge is presently used by 2,000 vehicles a day.
Campbell was hopeful the ground under the pilings would be solid rock, enough to support the new structure. Topography in southwest Missouri is unpredictable, he said.
Verona R-7 School Superintendent Bill Sweet was among those at the hearing asking about how the road closing would be marked. Matlock said there were no plans to post detour signs. Barricades would be placed to stop traffic.
Sweet said his athletic director would have to be in close contact with schools sending teams to Verona for volleyball and basketball games.
Looking at a map, Sweet said he would probably advise buses go east of Verona on Highway 60 to Farm Road 1170, then north to Business Highway 60. Closer north-south roads would not be wide enough for both a school bus and a car at the same time. Sweet said he would also recommend buses used Farm Road 2220 (Power Line Road) to come into Verona from the west.
Residents were generally positive about the change and were looking forward to having a new and wider bridge to use.
For more information about the bridge replacement, call MoDOT's District Seven office in Joplin at 1-800-654-5428.