Chester Bridge reopens after floodwaters recede - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Chester Bridge reopens after floodwaters recede

The bridge will reopen to traffic Monday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. (Source: Nick Chabarria/KFVS) The bridge will reopen to traffic Monday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. (Source: Nick Chabarria/KFVS)
Highway 51 and the bridge were both closed to traffic at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 29. (Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS) Highway 51 and the bridge were both closed to traffic at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 29. (Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
PERRYVILLE, MO (KFVS) -

The Route 51 Chester Bridge over the Mississippi River from Perry County, Mo. to Chester, Ill. reopened on Monday night.

Highway 51 and the bridge River have been closed by floodwaters for nearly a week.

The bridge reopened to traffic on Monday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. MoDOT made the announcement on it's Twitter account Monday afternoon.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is in charge of making sure the bridge is safe after the recent New Year Flood had river levels cresting at 45.99 feet at Chester.

Perry County Sheriff Gary Schaaf said crews planned to clean Highway 51 and possibly the Chester bridge on Monday.

Schaaf said MoDOT had to wait for river levels to get low enough for safety inspectors to check out the bridge for any structural damage.

Crews limited traffic on Highway 51 leading to the bridge in Perry County, Mo. to one lane Monday, Dec. 28, in order to prepare for closing the levee.

Highway 51 and the bridge were both closed to traffic at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 29, and have been shut down to traffic every since.

The temporary closure took a toll on residents in the area, especially those who travel the bridge to get to work.

William Taitt, of Chester, said it pushed his 15 minute commute to more than two hours.

"It's a long trip, it's a long way around and it's tiring, very tiring," he said. "It takes a lot out of your day because you got five hours plus your eight hours at the plant. You don't have too much of a day left."

On the Illinois side, the Menard Prison employee parking lot was still flooded.

Workers parked at an off-site lot and were bused in to work.

Also, a portion of Route 3 at the Mary's River was still flooded and closed off.

As of 8:30 a.m. CST Jan. 4, river levels at Chester were recorded at 41.95 feet, still above major flood stage which is listed at 40.0 feet.

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