Residents upset with MoDOT's detour plans

MoDOT plans to replace the Soap Creek Bridge on Highway 5, between Laurie and Gravois Mills, by the end of spring.

In order to speed up construction and save money, highway officials plan to close the bridge for 50 days, sending drivers on a detour.

This has many Morgan County residents upset, because the detour will cost them time and money.

KRCGs Fact Finder Team spoke with residents Tuesday evening to find out what they think should be done.

The Soap Creek Bridge has been on Route 5 for more than 50 years and MoDOT thinks it's time to replace it with a new bigger and better bridge.

"Our intent is to demolish and remove the old bridge, and replace it with a brand new bridge. That TMs a complete demolish and removal, MoDOT Ken Warbritton said.

Warbritton said to speed up construction and save money the Soap Creek Bridge will close during construction, and people will have to find an alternate route around the work area.

"The detour route is Route J and Route 135 that runs parallel to the west of Morgan County Route 5. It TMs longer, it has more hills and curves, and it's a narrow pavement compared to route 5, Warbritton said.

Morgan County residents tell me that detour will cause problems for businesses, emergency vehicles, and schools.

"It TMs going to affect a lot of people especially if there is an emergency or something like that. Fire trucks have to come from Laurie, Morgan County Resident Gary Rutledge said. Well they're going to have to come all the way around on Route 135 to the J road to get to Gravois Mills. A house could either burn down or someone could have a heart attack; and no one could get to them in time."

Most all Morgan County residents agreed that they need a new bridge over Soap Creek, but they don't want a detour off Highway 5 onto Route J and 135 during construction. So they asked MoDOT to create a temporary bridge until the job is finished, but MoDOT said it's too expensive to do that.

"When you construct temporary bypasses they cost typically 1/3 and sometimes as much as half of the cost of a bridge replacement, Warbritton said.

Warbritton said if they built a bypass on every bridge they replace, it would put other projects on hold because they would run out of money.

MoDOT is working with the schools and emergency responders to firm up plans.

But as of right now they plan to start construction in May.