Since this morning’s earthquake, Missouri Department of Transportation bridge inspectors have been out examining all state bridges in the eastern part of the state that may have been affected, but no damages have been found so far.
Shortly before 4:37 a.m., an earthquake, centered six miles from West Salem, Ill., and measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale, shook the region.Inspectors are examining about 2,500 bridges. Major river crossings are the top priority, followed by bridges on major highways and then the bridges on minor routes. All inspections will be completed by the end of the day.
“Our top priority today is making sure all our bridges are safe,” said State Bridge Maintenance Engineer Scott Stotlemeyer. “We’ve got hundreds of people checking bridges today. If we find any damage we’ll deal with it right away, and we won’t hesitate to close a bridge.”
As of 10 a.m., about 1,400 inspections are complete, and no damage has been found. Completed inspections include all of the nearly 1,000 bridges in the St. Louis area.
MoDOT will also examine Missouri River crossings today at Hermann, Jefferson City, Boonville, Rocheport, Miami and Glasgow.
Inspectors are looking for any signs of damage, including cracks or buckling in the bridge deck; loose pavement; bent beams or girders; missing bolts; or misalignment of curbs or rails. If potential problems are found, bridge engineers will be called in for a more thorough examination, and the bridge will be closed if necessary.