South Compton bridge slated for two-week closure

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South Compton bridge slated for two-week closure

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The South Compton Avenue bridge, which links Chouteau Avenue and the Market Street-Highway 40 intersection, will close for two weeks for surface repairs, beginning April 11.

According to Dick Stockmann, who works for the Division of Bridge Design within the Board of Public Service of the City of St. Louis, there are “two or three places where there are holes in the deck.” He said that, were the city to not close the whole bridge, the project would take five or six weeks. While the city “made the determination that it needs to be done,” he admitted that the scope of needed repairs is much larger: “the whole deck needs to be taken off and redone,” he said.

The bridge, which opened to traffic in August 2006, has a history of worrying motorists. KMOV reported in December 2014 that there were “gaps in the pavement and exposed rebar where the sidewalk curb should be.” The same report referenced a $2 million project that focused on the bridge’s sub structure in 2011, however “officials said it will require another $6 million to replace the bridge deck.” Nevertheless, the bridged has passed inspections for the past two years.

Echoing that situation, in which a bond issue was cited as a determining factor in infrastructure financing, Stockmann mentioned another bond issue that, if passed, might allow more work to be done.

Steve Runde, Director of Streets for the City of St. Louis, explained, “There is a section of the deck that is going to be replaced because of a few holes that are currently plated but getting larger.  The entire bridge needs to be replaced, and now that the bond issue passed yesterday, we will proceed to request federal funds now that we have match funds. However, that process takes 2 or 3 years before construction begins.  The repairs will not significantly upgrade the surface and future repairs may be needed.”

SLU administration clarified that the city alone will undertake this endeavor, not the University. “The city is closing it down, but the University is not involved in that,” said Toni Dean, Senior Administrative Assistant for Facilities Services.

Real Estate Operations coordinator Paul Meier explained, “We don’t have any stake in that bridge,” but admitted, “That bridge is in really bad shape.” He did mention work on the Grand Avenue bridge over Highway 44 planned later this year, which falls under the purview of the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Meier, who said he is “pretty close to the city” in his work at SLU, said that “they haven’t let us know of any projects going on [at South Compton].”

Kelly Remley, Volunteer Coordinator at the Casa de Salud, SLU’s Spanish-language health clinic located at the intersection of South Compton and Chouteau Avenue, said, “I imagine it will probably impact us.” However, she said that many visitors to the clinic come via Chouteau and thus do not take the bridge.

Ismar Sehovic, Vice President of Finance-Elect and Commuter Senator in the Student Government Association, remarked on the project’s potential impact on commuter students: “The short term drawbacks, I feel, are outweighed by the positive effects of the repairs. The commuter students are good at adapting to roadblocks such as this, because that skill is necessary in order to be able to make it as a commuter. I know that our students will be able to find an alternate route quickly as soon as it becomes necessary, so I do not fear that it will be too drastic of a change for most students. I understand that this might not ring true for everyone, but it is very likely that most students will be okay for those two short weeks.”