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.

MoDOT inspector Ed Hess, left, and Evan Lewis of Great River Engineering survey damage to a Texas County bridge on Monday. The camera is facing south. The two beams closest to the camera sustained damage.

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.

Fire trucks are positioned to fight a fire underneath the Baptist Camp Access bridge on the Big Piney River. Credit: FILE PHOTO

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.

Smoke covers an area on the Big Piney River near Baptist Camp Access.
A bridge over the Big Piney River at Baptist Camp Access south of Houston is closed.

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  1. This is a new one to me. A new and different way to destroy public property, tie up resources and create confusion.
    Such a shame and waste of tax moneys in several different ways at once.

  2. with the wind, a cigarette was probably thrown onto pile of logs, use some common sense and use an ashtray when it is dry and windy

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