UPDATE at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7: Engineers with MoDOT and a firm hired by Texas County have determined that the Big Piney Bridge at Baptist Camp Access will remain closed following a fire.
Two beams — on the west end of the bridge — are deemed to have “major damage.” Texas County Commissioner John Casey said Monday afternoon that the county is coordinating with MoDOT, its bridge department in Jefferson City and its own engineering firm in Springfield.
Further discussion will come Wednesday during a meeting of the county commission.
EARLIER: A well-traveled bridge at Baptist Camp Access on the Big Piney River was damaged by fire Thursday night, authorities said.
The Houston Rural Fire Department arrived early Thursday evening to find a large amount of wood debris piled up and burning under the 95-foot long bridge that has 63,000-pound beams that were manufactured in Marshall about 10 years ago. There are six concrete I-beams.
A neighbor called authorities after being alarmed about the amount of smoke in the area.
From South U.S. 63, the structure is located at the end of Highway RA and was constructed under the Off-System Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program (BRO). It is situated in Cass Township.
Firefighters were on the scene for several hours. Last night, authorities said they were trying to reach out to the township to inform them of the incident.
The bridge will be closed until a Missouri Department of Transportation bridge crew inspects it. Several agencies were notified Thursday night of the issue: The Missouri Department of Conservation, Texas County Emergency Management and the Texas County Sheriff’s Department.