The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 23, 2014

New Powell bridge to open today

POWELL, Mo. — Great River Associates engineer Spencer Jones, of Springfield, is planning a final inspection of the new Powell bridge on Cowan Road off Route E, to be followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. today.

The initial cost for the bridge was put at $800,000.

The event will not only mark the opening of the new bridge but also will serve as the official transfer of ownership for the historic bridge at the site to the Powell Historical Preservation Society, which has been working on the preservation of the old bridge since 2007.

Built in 1915, the original bridge carried traffic for 95 years. Recently the tops of the concrete abutments and the pier have been repaired with concrete, but the trusses themselves remain intact.

While it was considered to be in good condition, the one-lane bridge had a 3-ton load limit that precluded modern agricultural equipment and heavier trucks and emergency vehicles from using it.

The original one-lane, iron-clad trestle bridge spans Big Sugar Creek.

The local preservation group has been raising money and working to save the bridge since 2007. Along with ham-and-bean dinners and other fundraisers, the group launched a petition drive in an effort to persuade the McDonald County Commission to preserve the bridge. More than 2,200 signatures were submitted. The commission decided to redesign the new bridge at the site and to preserve the old bridge.

The Federal Highway Administration, the historical bridge and cultural services arm of the Missouri Department of Transportation, and the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office have previously given their approval for the conversion of the old bridge to a pedestrian walk bridge.

Work on that will begin now that the transfer is complete, according to Beverly Prentice, treasurer of the preservation society.

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