The East Gate to Fort Leonard Wood will remain closed for at least 12 more months while improvements are made to the bridge that connects J Highway to the post. 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. The plan now includes removing the deteriorating concrete and replacing it, and 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.