This bridge is listed as Gootch's Mill Bridge, but many maps show the area as Gooch Mill, a different spelling.
This nine panel Parker truss bridge serves a secondary state highway, yet remains in excellent historic integrity, and appears to be in much better structural condition than MoDOT would have people believe, with very little rust and section loss detected during a brief survey of the bridge. The bridge crosses over the remains of a previous bridge's abutments, which held a much shorter bridge. The 1906 bridge was relocated to this site in 1938. It was originally part of a two span bridge, and the other span was moved to serve as the Greenvalley Drive Bridge. The Gootch's Mill Bridge is described by the Historic Bridge Inventory as one of the longest and best-preserved bridges in the entire state. As such, it is unclear why this bridge is slated for demolition and replacement instead of being selected for one of many preservation alternatives.
At the time of documentation, a sign was posted at this bridge which reads "Safe and Sound." "Safe and Sound" is MoDOT shorthand for "Demolish all historic bridges that could have been rehabilitated for continued safe and functional use." It is the name of MoDOT's rapid bridge replacement program created in response to the I-35W bridge collapse. A number of states developed similar post I-35W programs, most notably Pennsylvania PennDOT's Rebuild PA program. A little background. The I-35W was a cantilevered deck truss built in 1967 in Minneapolis. HistoricBridges.org places a generous 1970 limit on how new a bridge placed on the website can be, which is 15 years more generous than the National Register of Historic Places. As such, the I-35W Bridge was nearly a modern bridge. In 2007, the bridge collapsed because the original plans for the bridge had a typo that specified gusset plates to be thinner than they should have been. In response to this, MoDOT, PennDOT, and other departments all decided that this must mean that all bridges... especially old truss bridges... should be demolished and replaced, even though the I-35W collapse was caused by a document typo error, not aging or deterioration. This is absurd. If anything, the I-35W bridge suggests that newer bridges are more dangerous and poorly designed than a bridge like this bridge which has served traffic faithfully for over a century in two different location. This bridge, which has proven itself by standing the test of time would probably be safer than any new bridge if it were rehabilitated.
This bridge does not deserve to be demolished as MoDOT has planned, and instead should be preserved. At the very least, it should be relocated or bypassed and left standing for its historic value.
Information and Findings From Missouri's Historic Bridge Inventory
Superstructure: steel, 9-panel, pin-connected Parker
Discussion of Bridge
This long-span pinned Parker truss carries State Secondary Route V over the Petite Saline Creek some seven miles northeast of Prairie I-Iome. Supported by a masonry pier and abutments, remnants of an earlier bridge at this location, the bridge was originally built as part of a two-span structure over the Lamine River. It was later moved to its present site in 1938. The truss on the Turley Bridge dates to 1906. In May of that year, the Cooper County Court declared "an urgent necessity for re-building the Turley Bridge across the Lamine River." When the job was let for bids in early June, several competitive proposals were received but were rejected by the court as too high. Negotiations to lower the bid estimates ensued. The resulting low bidder at $8200.00, the Kansas City Bridge Company, was awarded the contract to fabricate and erect the long-span trusses. Using steel components rolled in Pittsburgh by Carnegie, KCBCo fabricated the two 170-foot spans and erected them on stone abutments and piers. Reported finished in March 1907, the bridge carried traffic at the rural crossing for almost thirty years before it was replaced by the state highway department with a heavier bridge [COOPO3]. One of the spans of the 1907 bridge was moved in 1938 to a Boone County crossing near Columbia [BOON06]. The other was moved the same year to this location in Cooper County over Petite Saline Creek. It has functioned in place since the move, in unaltered condition. Between the early 1880s, when trusses superseded bowstrings, and the 1920s, when field riveting attained widespread use, the pin- connected truss was the structure of choice for medium and long-span wagon bridges in Missouri. Virtually all of the major Midwestern bridge companies fabricated pinned trusses and marketed them extensively to counties throughout the state in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This corresponded with a period of intense bridge construction, as the counties were busily upgrading their road and highway systems. As a result, thousands of pinned trusses were built in Missouri during this formative period, and many remain in place today. Most of these featured straight-chorded Pratt configurations. After the turn of the century, however, bridge manufacturers found a greater economy in polygonal-chorded Pratt variants (particularly the Parker truss) for long-span applications. Their relatively long spans, light structural members and archaic detailing have rendered pin-connected Parker trusses particularly vulnerable to subsequent replacement. As a result, of the hundreds that once carried vehicular traffic throughout the state, fewer than three dozen remain in place today. These range in span length from 110 feet to 200 feet and in erection date from 1900 to 1932. The Turley Bridge, with its 170-foot span and 1907 construction date, falls within the mainstream of this trend. It is not unique among Missouri's early roadway spans. Rather, the significance of this structure accrues from its representation of early wagon/ auto bridge construction. It is among the longest and best- preserved trusses in Missouri: a noteworthy example of a now-uncommon structural type.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.
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