By Brian Hill, U.S. Army FLW
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (November 22, 2021) – The East Gate will remain closed for at least 12 more months while improvements are made to the bridge that connects J Highway to Fort Leonard Wood.
Workers were initially tasked this past summer to mill and resurface the asphalt deck while also sealing the underlying concrete on the 420-foot-long bridge, but the scope of the project changed when officials noticed the amount of deteriorating concrete underneath.
“We knew there was water penetrating both the asphalt and the concrete due to spalling on the underside of the concrete deck,” said J.D. Bales, chief of the Engineering Design Branch at the Directorate of Public Works.
Spalling is a term used to describe when concrete breaks into smaller pieces. In the case of the 80-year-old East Gate Bridge, which crosses over the Big Piney River, water had, over time, damaged the structure, Bales said. The plan now includes removing the deteriorating concrete and replacing it; more subcontractors are required for this specialized work.
The method of repairs that have been selected for the bridge should be able to be maintained with very little impact on traffic in the future, he added.
“In the end, we will have a full-depth concrete deck instead of a deck with an asphalt finish,” he said. “The upgrades being done to the concrete will ensure one of the bridges people rely on every day to access the installation is safe. While it’s temporarily inconvenient for some of our commuters who have to travel to one of the other installation access points, the safety of every member of the Fort Leonard Wood community is always our most important concern.”
The East Gate is normally open from 5 to 8:30 a.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday (closed on weekends and all federal holidays). For more information on Fort Leonard Wood’s access control policies, visit https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/Garrison/DES/physical-security/access-control.