Friday, April 18, 2008

MoDOT Inspects 2,500 Bridges After Earthquake

Since this morning's earthquake, Missouri Department of Transportation bridge inspectors have been out in force examining all state bridges in the eastern part of the state that may have been affected. So far, no damage has been found.

Inspectors are examining about 2,500 bridges located in the eastern third of the state. Major river crossings are the top priority, followed by bridges on major highways, and then the bridges on minor routes. All inspections will be complete by the end of the day.

"Our top priority today is making sure all our bridges are safe," said State Bridge Maintenance Engineer Scott Stotlemeyer. "We've got hundreds of people checking bridges today. If we find any damage we'll deal with it right away, and we won't hesitate to close a bridge."

As of 10 a.m., about 1,400 inspections are complete, with no damage found. Completed inspections include all of the nearly 1,000 bridges in the St. Louis area.

In addition to the eastern part of the state, MoDOT will also examine Missouri River crossings today at Hermann, Jefferson City, Boonville, Rocheport, Miami and Glasgow.

Inspectors are looking for any signs of damage, including cracks or buckling in the bridge deck, loose pavement, bent beams or girders, missing bolts, or misalignment of curbs or rails. If potential problems are found, bridge engineers will be called in for a more thorough examination, and the bridge will be closed if necessary.

Editor's note: Click here for a sheet MoDOT workers are using that spells out exactly what they're looking for in bridge inspections. MoDOT will issue updates throughout the day with progress and results of the inspections. For additional information, click here for MoDOT's earthquake inspection web page.

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