Pedestrians who normally walk over the historic Oak Street Bridge over the railroad tracks will have to shift their walks to Olive Street or Walnut Street after Friday.

Pedestrians who normally walk over the historic Oak Street Bridge over the railroad tracks will have to shift their walks to Olive Street or Walnut Street after Friday.
Carthage street department workers blocked the sidewalk on the north side of the historic “whee bridge” on Friday after state inspectors found rot in the supports under the sidewalk deck.
The closure doesn't affect vehicle traffic over the bridge, but pedestrians will have to take a two-block detour either to the Walnut Street bridge to the south or the at grade crossing on Olive Street to the north for the foreseeable future, according to Carthage Public Works Director Zeb Carney.
“Even if the city chooses to repair that sidewalk, it's going to be a lengthy process, and expensive,” Carney said. “It's not a simple fix, then to get to that area is aerial work above the tracks themselves so any time you work around that rail, the railroad gets involved. The plans would have to be approved by the railroad and they would dictate how that repair is made, what materials and in what fashion the repairs are made.”
Matthew Harmon, Carthage, was the last pedestrian to cross the bridge sidewalk before city crews swarmed over it to install blockades around 10 a.m. Friday.
Harmon said he was walking the bridge on Friday to get to a friend's home near the bridge because his car was broken down, but he was saddened to hear the sidewalk would have to be closed.
“I'm sure there's lots of people who walk who use this all the time, besides me,” Harmon said. “When I was a little kid I used to play under the bridge and I used to go to kindergarten at Hawthorn School, so I walked over it all the time. I'll miss that, being able to walk this bridge.”
Carney said the city owns 11 bridges, including the Oak Street bridge, that are inspected by the state every two years.
All those bridges were inspected, and Carney said he will not get the final results for another week and a half or two weeks when the reports are written and approved by engineers with the Missouri Department of Transportation, which conducts the inspections.
Carney said the other bridges are still safe, however, because if there had been a problem that would have endangered the public, like the rot under the Oak Street bridge sidewalk, the inspector would have notified the city immediately.