Workers tackle removal of collapsed bridge

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Workers from Gilkey Tow Service, Rich Hill, work to attach chains and a block and tackle to the south approach of the old bridge that used to cross the Osage River just north of Schell City on Friday. Ron Gilkey, at the lower portion of the structure, handles a cable attached to his winch truck while Brent Morrison, higher on the structure and to the left, passes the block and tackle to Keith Beck. The crew worked through the night on Thursday, preparing to remove that portion of the old structure. The collapsed bridge -- on 2750 Road, also known as River Road -- connected Vernon and Bates counties for more than a century, having been constructed in 1900. It was the quickest route between Schell City and Rockville. The bridge fell into the river in February 2012 and it took several months to work out the logistics of getting it out of the river. The bridge belongs to Bates County, according to Missouri Department of Transportation records, and Gilkey approached the Bates County Commission about removing the bridge, saying he's doing it mostly for the scrap iron, "and to give something back." Most of the approach in the north side has been removed and Gilkey said he will pull the remainder of the old bridge out onto the south bank of the Osage. He also plans to remove the old bridge that collapsed into the Marmaton River just north of Nevada near the Cephus Ford Access many years ago. None of that work is costing the county any money. Gilkey has "no idea" when the projects will be finished, "I've never done anything like this before," he said. Rusty Murry/Daily Mail

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