MoDOT took action Wednesday to fix what some people call a disaster waiting to happen, gaping holes on Big Bend Bridge.
But are the repairs enough? And what will happen to similar looking holes on the Fee Fee Bridge over I-70?
MoDOT said these gaps stem from the same issue, an issue they didn't foresee. MoDOT crews were hard at work to fix gaping holes after 5 On Your Side first reported the problem.
Neighbors are concerned that the holes could cause people crossing the bridge to fall on or close to I-270.Bill Schnell, MoDOT assistant district engineer for the District of St. Louis, said both Fee Fee and Big Bend Bridge are originally from the 1960s.
The upgrades attempt to revamp the bridges to include sidewalks that are more pedestrian friendly, as well as conform to the Americans With Disabilities Act.“Some of the site conditions there that you don't always see when you're entering the design. Utility companies come out and clear out trees and brush that used to be there,” Schnell said.
Two days after our report about the problem aired, MoDOT began filling in those gaps.
“Were adding fence by the sidewalk there because their concern was raised,” he said.Two six-foot steel fences were added next to other fencing and to the sidewalk.
But even with those extensions Osage Hills resident and architect Ian Waldschmidt said they’re a concern.“It's a problem that is a design problem. It looks like they came to try to solve the problem but didn't fully understand what the issues or the comments were,” Waldschmidt said.
Waldschmidt said even with extra fencing, someone could reasonably be expected to slip on ice and fall down the hill.So, after examining the additional fencing and speaking with other neighbors including Waldschmidt, 5 On Your Side circled back with MoDOT. A spokesperson tells us MoDOT believes the new fences solve the problem.
“If this is the result, it appears that perhaps the problem hasn't been solved,” Waldschmidt said.
Schnell said they will continue to reassess the work on Big Bend. They will also reexamine the holes on Fee Fee over I-70.
MoDOT Spokesperson Andrew Gates sent 5 On Your Side this statement:
. . the engineer overseeing the project . . . assures me that fencing will be adequate to protect people from the bicycle/pedestrian concerns that have been expressed to us. That being said, we will continue to monitor this area (like Bill said this morning) and see if anything additional may need to be done.