With 68 bridges on rural roads, Clay County averages a bridge on every 5.6 miles of road. The smallest bridges in Clay County are short, single-span bridges but about half of the bridges are more than 100’ long (longest is 424’ long) or have multiple spans. As is the case across Missouri and the nation, County bridges are aging and some need to be replaced. The oldest bridges still in use were first built in the 1920s.
Bridge maintenance is handled by Highway Department crews throughout the year. MoDOT inspects all county bridges with Clay County every other year to be sure each bridge continues to meet Federal safety standards. The MoDOT inspector determines what structural repairs, if any, need to be made and whether a bridge can remain open until repairs are made or if the bridge must be closed until it can be replaced. When a bridge is ordered closed, it may take up to 5 years to complete the replacement bridge.
Bridge replacement, even on short bridges, can be a very expensive project. If a bridge doesn’t meet safety standards, Clay County is responsible for repairing or replacing the bridge. Using resources available through MoDOT, Clay County applies for federal bridge funding whenever possible. The federal programs pay up to 80% of the cost of the bridge replacement.
Bridges that have been damaged or that need repair should be reported to the Highway Department office.