Gasconade River bridge on Bicycle Route 66 near Lebanon MO closed to motor traffic but still open for bicycling; Work to preserve historic bridge underway - Route 66 News

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The Missouri Department of Transportation announced Thursday it will build a new bridge next to the closed Gasconade River Bridge near Hazelgreen and keep the historic bridge standing for now.

In the meantime, local preservationists will have to find an entity to take over ownership of the old bridge, or it eventually may be removed.

In a news release from MoDOT:

The majority of public comments stemming from a Dec. 14, 2016, public meeting held in Lebanon supported constructing a new bridge near I-44 and leaving the current facility, located on historic Route 66, intact. However, MoDOT has indicated all along that liability issues and limited funds would require the department to remove the bridge unless an outside entity stepped forward to take ownership of and maintain the bridge.

The current bridge will remain in place as the agency works through the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The act requires federal agencies and the recipients of federal funds, such as MoDOT, to consider the effects of projects on properties eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, such as the Gasconade River Bridge.

The agency hopes to open the new bridge by early 2019.

Kip Welborn of the Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge Guardians told the Lebanon Daily Record his group and others will continue to look for ways to save the bridge so it can be used for recreational purposes.

MoBikeFed comment: Our understanding is that the Gasconade River Bridge, on Bicycle Route 66 just east of Lebanon, is closed to motor vehicle traffic but still open to bicycle traffic. Bicyclists may need to lift their bicycle over a guard rail.

Our understanding as well is that a local group has taken ownership of the historic bridge and is planning to keep it open for bicycle and pedestrian traffic, and as a historic landmark, if funding and resources can be found.

Also in Bicycle Route 66 news: MoDOT is planning to officially adopted Bicycle Route 66 into the U.S. Bicycle Route system as U.S. Bicycle Route 66. Planning work should be complete, and the official USBR 66 status granted by mid 2018.

Signage for USBR 66--similar to the USBR 76 (TransAmerica Trail) signage installed a few year ago--will follow as soon as funding can be found.

More about Bicycle Route 66 in Missouri: