Rep. Sam Graves visits MoDOT bridge replacement projects

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 6:50 PM CDT
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LEWIS COUNTY, Mo. (WGEM) - Missouri Rep. Sam Graves visited two Lewis County bridges being replaced by the Missouri Department of Transportation’s FARM bridge program on Tuesday.

The bridges over Derrahs Creek and Sugar Creek on Route E only have one lane and are in poor condition. They are two of 31 rural Missouri bridges in the northern third of the state will be replaced through the project. Each of them are weight-restricted, one-lane wide, and in poor condition.

Graves said replacing unsafe bridges is beneficial to residents as it’s the first step to fixing rural roads.

“In North Missouri, we have great soils for raising crops but we got lousy soils for a road bed. They just move too much, so getting these bridges replaced is a great start to fixing some of our rural roads,” Graves said.

The FARM bridge program is funded by a $20.8 million grant through the Federal Highway Administration, and $5.2 million from MoDOT.

In the 65 years Darlene Spurgeon has lived on Route E, she has seen many vehicles travel over the Sugar Creek and Derrahs Creek bridges.

“We have a lot of tractors and equipment that way. And then since the Amish moved in to the area we have a lot of log trucks,” Spurgeon said.

Farm Bridge Program Project Director Jeff Gander said replacing the bridges on Route E is necessary.

“By replacing these bridges, we are gonna get rid of that weight restriction which is gonna allow the farmers and other industry in the area to be able to move their stuff a lot better,” Gander said.

The Sugar Creek bridge will be complete mid-June, and after that the Derrahs Creek bridge will close for repairs.

Graves said he is proud of the construction progress so far.

“When you have school buses on the road, farm machinery on the road, whatever the case may be, we replace bridges like that. This is a good thing because it makes our roads a lot safer,” Graves said.

MoDOT said they have completed four bridge replacements this year.

Their goal is to finish all the bridges by Sept. 15 of next year.

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