MoDOT has no solution for asphalt coming off Poplar Street Bridge

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by Chris Stanford / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 12 at 4:41 PM

(KMOV) -- It’s gearing up to be another bumpy summer for drivers traveling over the Poplar Street Bridge.  Asphalt laid late last summer on the bridge is starting to come off, and MoDOT doesn’t yet have a solution. 

The problem that’s plagued the bridge for decades has to do with asphalt coming free from the steel plates underneath.  Last summer MoDOT engineers thought a fresh pavement job would stick. 

“We hoped that it would make it through until this project was finished,” said MoDOT engineer Deanna Venker. 

The plates are currently showing on the westbound side of the bridge, near St. Louis.  MoDOT says the pavement is the most vulnerable where drivers slow down approaching exits into Missouri. 

“That braking effect is what's shoving the asphalt and causing it to come up,” said Venker. 

Hot summer days will also beat up the pavement which means drivers who take the bridge may be in for a repeat of last summer, when conditions were extremely rough.

 “I'll be scared to go over it. I won't go over it. I'll go another way,” said Vera Boyd, who says she takes the Poplar Street Bridge daily.

 Temporary fixes to the bridge are already in the budget. 

 “Right now we're looking at it and investigating it with all of our folks and we've called the consultant back that came last year, and he doesn't have a lot of good suggestions at this point either,” said Venker. 

The permanent fix is a new bridge deck that Venker said the asphalt will stick to, and it is scheduled to be finished along with the entire Poplar Street Bridge project sometime in 2018.

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