By Echo Menges
Missouri Department of Transportation, Knox County and City of Edina officials are working to prepare for the closure of one of the busiest bridges in the county. On Monday, July 9, 2012 the North Fork Fabius River Bridge on Highway 15 north of Edina will close to all traffic while the bridge is replaced.
Because the bridge accommodates such a high volume of traffic flashing message boards have been placed to the north and south of the bridge to get motorists ready for the coming closure. Detour signs will be set out once the bridge is closed detouring traffic through Knox City along Highway 6 and State Routes V and AA.
Knox County Commissioners Evan Glasgow, Terry “Red” Callahan and Terry Marble say they appreciate the state’s effort to keep through traffic on state highways, but they’re preparing for an increase of heavy traffic on two Knox County gravel roads anyway, County Roads 150 and 154, which provide a shorter detour around the Highway 15 closure.
“We prefer heavy traffic like grain trucks, rock trucks, farm equipment, tractor trailers and so on stay on the state’s detour routes, but if they have to be on our gravel we’d rather them take County Road 154 (east of Edina) not County Road 150 (off North East Avenue in Edina, near the ball field) because there are no bridges on 154 and 154 is a lot wider,” said Knox County Presiding Commissioner Evan Glasgow. “There’s a slew bridge on 150 that wasn’t built for the heavy trucks and equipment people try to take down that road.”
As a precaution county work crews have been busy filling potholes to smooth out County Road 150 and they have replaced the running boards on the slew bridge. As far as they’re concerned it would be unrealistic in assuming trough traffic will stick to the state’s designated detour.
City of Edina officials are also expecting an increase in traffic in the northeast corner of town near the ball field and has plans to put up signs to hopefully slow traffic down in that area. Not only are the baseball field and Edina Wastewater Treatment Facility located at the mouth of County Road 150 but also a children’s daycare business is in close proximity.
People who live in that corner of Edina have said for years that traffic already flows too fast through the area and many expect it be much worse once it becomes an unofficial detour route.
According to information released by MoDOT the North Fork Fabius River Bridge on Highway 15 is 89 years old. The bridge is an old truss bridge. The new bridge will not have trusses and it will be 28 feet wide allowing large equipment to pass over it safely without the height limitations the current bridge has.
Emery Sapp and Sons out of Columbia, MO has been subcontracted to replace the bridge. The project is expected to take 49 working days, weather permitting, and the bridge is expected to re-open around August 27, 2012.