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Wednesday September 19th 2018

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Bridge is MISSING Parts Now, “Don’t Look Ethel!”

50 year old Stacked Bridge Plates Removed from the Larry Gene Taylor Bridge at Shell Knob

Progress on the renovation of the Larry Gene Taylor Bridge over Table Rock Lake at Shell Knob is moving at a good pace.  If you are on a boat looking up under the bridge you will be amazed how it looks.  There are no signs of dust or debris as there is this huge blue and gray canvas enclosing all signs of the iron and concrete underpinnings.  A week ago people were commenting on where are the workers? But now we know as they were underneath preparing this huge enclosure that is saving the lake and the environment from any pollution from the old concrete and rusted steel.  Apparently last week they were inside the enclosure sawing loose the steel that was holding the large concrete slabs that are the deck of the bridge.  The few opportunities that these workers were seen saw them covered head to toe in red dust from grinding these plates free from under the bridge.

 The pictures show how over one quarter of the bridge plates have been removed and stacked on the north east side of the bridge entrance way.  The depth of these bridge plates show the wear of over 50 years of cars traveling over them.  Sources shared that they are normally one half the size in depth they should be.  The new base for the bridge will be thicker and stronger but not any wider.  There have been several accidents already, none fatal, just trailers and wider loads that have had to scrape through the narrow nine foot wide roadway.  Light weight trailers that have started weaving, jumping over the guard rail and losing axles.  Bridge workers have been quick to remove these obstacles and keep the traffic flow going.

“Don’t Look Ethel” the old Ray Steven’s song of the ‘70’s has been the saying of those that fear heights and open water just a few feet away from them.  The south and east side of the bridge is where the bridge plates have been removed.  Looking out your right hand lane headed north you are gazing down into Table Rock Lake.  The steel railing of the bridge have been removed and you can see through the steel rails into the blue water below. 

Water can be seen below-Outside Rail is missing!

Residents are gaining patience with the often longer than they expected wait time to cross the bridge.  Those that have jumped the lights have found workers that have stopped them and made them back up.  The need for patience and courtesy to local businesses’ driveways is essential for these places to be able to stay open during the nine-month reconstruction of the bridge.  Drivers have started to leave open pathways to driveways into the Subway and the Pizza Hut on the north and south sides of the bridge.  But the count down until Memorial Day still goes on.  Hopefully the weather here will be more like the last one without ice on the bridge.  The worriers are already talking about stocking up on the staples in the event the bridge is dangerous.  One lady even shared that as she was storing her boat for summer, she was pulling the life jackets out of it and putting them into the car. Well, don’t look Ethel, keep your lights on at night when crossing the bridge.

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