The Texas County Commission is reviewing a Springfield engineering firm’s report on a fire that closed a bridge over the Big Piney River at Baptist Camp Access in early November.

The blaze was fueled by debris under the Camp Road bridge that may have burned several hours before it was discovered. The cause is unknown. Firefighters were on the scene for several hours. Structural damage uncovered by the Missouri Department of Transportation forced its closure.

The Great River Engineering report details recommendations for repair or replacement of the structure, which received damage on the northwest portion. The bridge was constructed in 2011 and spans about 189 feet.  

Texas County Commissioner John Casey, whose district includes the bridge, said the commission is leaning toward using a fiber reinforced polymer that also includes the repouring of the concrete deck. According to the report, the prestressed bridge beams and deck panels show the most severe signs of damage. The affected regions, according to the report, may have lost up to 50 percent of their strength for both concrete and steel depending on the fire’s temperature.

“The deck panels are therefore assumed to be damaged beyond repair and a deck replacement for this span would be needed,” the report says.

Casey said the report has been forwarded to MoDOT for its review, and the commission hopes that the county might be able to tap MoDOT funds for repairs, which are estimated at $269,307.

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