JMISSOURI -- As requested by Gov. Matt Blunt, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is inspecting a number of state bridges similar in design to the deck arch truss bridge that collapsed two weeks ago in Minnesota.
None of the bridges due to be inspected are in the southern region of the state.
The counties where the bridges are located are: Camden, Butler, St. Louis, Platte, Jackson, Warren, Saline, Holt, Buchanon, Miller, Perry and one bridge in the city of St. Louis.
The oldest of these bridges is the one in Saline County. It was built in 1922 and was last inspected in January of this year.
The newest bridge on the inspection list is the bridge in Jackson County which was built in 1949.
A MoDOT official said the inspections are expected to last five weeks. Each bridge will be thoroughly examined by engineers using a snooper truck, which is a large truck with a large mechanical arm and platform that is able to carry inspectors over and under the bridge allowing them to get a close-up look at the bridge's underside.
"We want to assure travelers in Missouri that our bridges are safe," said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. "We routinely inspect state bridges every other year, or more often if necessary. These inspections are strictly precautionary following the terrible tragedy in Minnesota. We just don't want to take any chances."
None of the arch truss bridges in the state are among the 800 bridges involved in the Safe and Sound Bridge Improvement Plan which was announced by MoDOT last fall.
In total, Missouri has 23,883 bridges. This is the sixth largest total out of all 50 states.
In a 2004 report, the Federal Highway Administration said there are 600,000 bridges in the United States. The report also said 25 percent of them were in a "deficient" condition.