It's been a long, hot summer, and weeks of drought and extremely hot weather have made life tough for a lot of folks, especially northwest Missouri Farmers.
But last month's heat wave also created problems for those doing other kinds of work besides trying to grow corn and soybeans, including a crew from C&C Construction in Pilot Grove, the company contracted to build Nodaway County's newest bridge.
Now open to traffic, the 120-foot bridge spans Long Branch on Liberty Road a few miles southeast of Barnard. The $380,000 structure was built using federal transportation funds plus a 20 percent "soft match" from the county, which means that the county didn't have to put up any cash but was allowed to count earlier expenditures on self-funded transportation projects.
Bob Burnett of Snyder & Associates, the engineer on the project, said hot weather complicated construction at Long Branch because extreme temperatures threatened to keep freshly poured concrete from curing properly.
Generally, Burnett said, concrete should not be poured when the thermometer exceeds 80 degrees.
In order to complete the bridge during a construction period when temperatures often reached three digits, C&C performed concrete work early in the morning, and then placed wide strips of water-soaked burlap over the new road surface so that it could cure at an acceptable rate.
Water used to keep the fabric cool was pumped directly from Long Branch, which the drought has reduced to little more than a shallow trickle only a few feet wide.
Similarly cooled were several concrete cores, which were sent to the Missouri Department of Transportation for testing to ensure that the bridge's masonry is of the strength and quality specified in the contract.
The Long Branch bridge is one of at least a half-dozen spans the county planned to build this summer.
In addition to federal funding, such projects are also paid for using state Community Development Block Grants and locally derived transportation dollars.