Sunrise Beach residents celebrate new bridge

Two eras in a Lake of the Ozarks town came to an end Saturday as dignitaries dedicated a replacement for the Hurricane Deck bridge.

The new bridge runs alongside the old one and will start carrying traffic from Highway 5 in Sunrise Beach on Monday. Officials say crews will start tearing down the old bridge, a steel truss structure dating to 1935, on Tuesday.

During ceremonies Saturday morning, MoDOT Central District Engineer David Silvester said the bridge's completion also marks the end of MoDOT's major bridge construction projects in the Lake area. He noted more than 2,000 bridges in the state are still structurally deficient and need replacement.

Visitors and residents alike said it was time for a replacement. Enid Woods, who has lived by the bridge for more than 20 years, told KRCG 13 she never had any safety concerns about the old bridge but was glad to see a new one go in as the old one deteriorated. Woods said she had no trouble at all with the construction close to her back yard and added she enjoyed the no-wake zone that was enforced around the bridge for a year and a half.

"Every day, my dock says 'I love you.'" she said.

Asked whether she would miss the old bridge, Woods smiled and offered a firm "no."

Bob Minor, a Lee's Summit resident whose mother still owns a lake house by the bridge, said his father's family drove all the way from New Boston, Mo. on the old Highway 5 in a Ford Model A to see the bridge about a year after it was built. He said the bridge made such a strong impression on his father that he bought a house by the bridge and another Model A to remember the trip. At least two Model As took part in a ceremonial parade across the bridge after Saturday's ribbon-cutting.

"The new bridge is much more functional for today's needs," Minor said. "It's going to help the community a lot."

Silvester said the new bridge is about a half-mile long and includes shoulders. He said roughly 10,000 cubic yards of concrete and 1.75 million pounds of reinforcing steel went into its construction. He said the new bridge would make for much safer travel along the highway.