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East Gate to Fort Leonard Wood will not be reopening to traffic soon

It looks like the East Gate to Fort Leonard Wood will not be reopening to traffic soon. The gate remains closed until further notice while improvements are made to the bridge that connects J Highway to Fort Wood. Workers were initially tasked 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. J.D. Bales, chief of the Engineering Design Branch at the Directorate of Public Works, says, “We knew there was water penetrating both the asphalt and the concrete due to spalling on the underside of the concrete deck. 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 says the plan now includes removing the deteriorating concrete and replacing it — more subcontractors are required for this specialized work. “In the end, we will have a full-depth concrete deck instead of a deck with an asphalt finish,” he explains, “The upgrades being done to the concrete will ensure one of the bridges people rely on every day to access the installation is safe.”


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