Bridge Problems

Bridge Problems
By:   CJ Cassidy

Butler County, MO -- It's not your typical case of vandalism but, Butler County authorities say they're cracking down just as hard.
Officials with the Missouri Department of Transportation closed access to the Black River Bridge on Route 67 thirteen miles North of Poplar Bluff.
However, this isn't a new problem for the Butler County Sheriff's Department.
They've been dealing with vandals under the bridge for years, now they're glad to have some help cracking down on trespassers.
Underneath the bridge, across state property, that's the route authorities say many trespassers are taking to enjoy a dip in this pond.
It's a trip that's leading to lots of problems.
"There's upto 50 or 70 people at one time swimming or boating drinking doing things they shouldn't be doing across state property," MoDOT Supervisor Butch Anderson says.
They've now posted clear signs in an effort to keep trespassers away.
Anderson found out about the problem when crews surveying the area in time for the Highway 67 expansion project came across evidence of vandals.
"Evidently they had a fire here of fairly good size and smoke coming out underneath the bridge motorists driving over top of the bridge going to create a problem," Anderson says.
"One thing we've seen frequently is property damage bottles and debris left behind," Butler County Sheriff Mark Dobbs says.
He says the troubles they've dealt with have been even more serious than that.
"A lot of date rape related incidents things that just get way too out of hand from youth partying at that location," Dobbs says.
Infact Dobbs says patrolling the area has been an issue in itself
"It's a serious matter to us because it's a remote location there are a variety of things that have gone on and can go on," he says.
Authorities say it's not just state property but also private land people are trespassing on.
Police say they plan on arresting any trespassers who cross the barricades now in place leading under the bridge.
The Missouri Highway Patrol will also help patrol that area.