In light of Atlanta overpass collapse, MODOT says bridges structurally sound

In light of Atlanta overpass collapse, MODOT says bridges structurally sound

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - With the overpass collapse in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday, March 31, you may be wondering about the safety of some of the structures in the Heartland.

Mark Shelton, an engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation, said while not all bridges are created equal, they are safe.

"You know, you've got to build a bridge across the Mississippi River it's got to be strong, sound and safe for traveling public," said Shelton.

Mark Shelton said every bridge gets a once over.

"When a bridge is brand new every couple years is good. As a bridge gets in medium condition, if you will, we start inspecting those bridges on an annual basis," Shelton said.

Shelton said not every bridge in southeast Missouri is in perfect condition.

He said there are around 70 bridges in poor condition in the region.

"Don't think for a minute, just because we say it's poor condition that means it's not safe. If a bridge is open to traffic, it is safe to be open for traffic because if we find through any inspection that it's not, we will immediately close the bridge.," Shelton said.

Something they had to do in Scott County in 2013 when two trains collided with a bridge, causing more than $2 million worth of damage.

"All the agencies worked together to make sure that the public stays safe, and if there was anybody on the bridge," Shelton said.

In April 2016, a railroad bridge near Thebes, Ill. was closed after a barge collided with the base.

"When that happens we immediately first thing we do is close down the bridge, and we come out and we make sure we perform an inspection before we reopen the bridge for traffic," Shelton said.

Shelton said based on inspections they will make repairs as needed.

As of March 31, the bridge in Cairo is closed for maintenance through the first week of April.

"If we're not sure about a bridge, we're just not going to take a chance with the public's safety," Shelton said.

Shelton said each bridge along the Mississippi has a state that primarily takes care of them.

However, every year they have a meeting to discuss any issues or updates that need to be made.

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