CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Missouri Department of Transportation officials say road work on the I-55 overpass at Missouri Highway 74 could begin in late spring.
Assistant District Engineer Matt Seiler says bridge engineers reassessed the damage after an October accident. They determined the severity was not as bad as originally thought.
Seiler says one of the steel girders will have to be replaced after a tanker truck struck the underside of the bridge on Oct. 24. He adds the October incident was not the first time that bridge has been struck.
"Our bridge crew has the capability, they heat the bridge girders and then they can bend them back straight," Seiler said. "But this one has been hit enough and damaged enough now that it's beyond us doing that. We just need to replace it."
The only lane affected by the damage is the acceleration lane for the I-55 southbound ramp.
"With how many times it's been hit, we are looking at what it will take to maybe lower the grade of the street to keep that bridge from getting hit again," Seiler said.
Seiler says the strength of the bridge gives MoDOT more time to assess what needs to be done to improve the project and look at how that might affect traffic.
He says replacing the steel girder would not require the closure of interstate lanes. It would only require detouring Missouri Highway 74 southbound traffic.
MoDOT will be accepting bids from contractors to complete the work.