What's wrong with bridges in Missouri?

May 29, 2013

This bridge in southeast Missouri collapsed when a derailed train knocked out its supports
Credit bodkin / Flickr

The collapse of a county highway bridge in southeast Missouri on Saturday was almost certainly not due to structural defects. And the fact that this collapse came on the heels of a similar disaster in Washington state is unfortunate but not necessarily related. Yet it's just a plain fact that bridges in Missouri are aging rapidly and are in serious need of repair.

When the federal highway system expanded across the US in 1956 it brought with it a glut of new bridge 

  construction in Missouri. Hundreds of bridges were built in the 1950s and 1960s and most of them were only intended to be stable for fifty years. The clock is ticking on a lot of those bridges right now and transportation funding can't come close to meeting the demand for repairs. Between declining gas tax revenue, political gridlock and the aging bridge system, it's a perfect storm with no obvious solution.

The CoMo Explained team takes on bridges this week's topic. Listen to the whole show above and subscribe in the iTunes store to get a shiny new podcast in your computer each Wednesday morning!

This week I wanted to share a few links for all the reading types. Ryan and I do a lot of research for each episode and we can't get it all into the podcast. So if you want to know even more about why bridges are so messed up in Missouri, read on: