Wornall bridge takes a beating from flood

Posted at 6:27 PM, Aug 22, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The George Satterlee Bridge, formerly called the Wornall Road Bridge, at 103rd & Wornall has always been on city engineers' radar. They've been especially busy for the past month, since the last major flooding event. 

After Tuesday morning's historic flooding, rushing water spilled over the bridge, pushing debris onto the sidewalk. 

Engineers shut the bridge down for inspections. The bridge reopened around noon. 

"When the water ended up coming up, we came to take a look to make sure nothing shifted; and you can tell by the end of the bridge, if something shifts a little bit and the water is pushing the bridge, we'd want to shut it down and have a big structural inspection," Bridge Maintenance Engineer Eric Falk said. 

Luckily, that big structural inspection isn't needed yet. Falk pointed to the concrete railing where the bridge meets the street. 

"So you take a look right here and that's lining straight up, so it's good," Falk said. 

Officials predicted Indian Creek to crest at nearly 29 feet, higher than the last flood on July 27th. 

"The bigger issue is scour. And that is when the soil around the substructure, which is the columns and things like that, the piers, that soil washes out. [The bridge] is standing on stilts, and if you've got nothing holding it up you'll end up causing the bridge structural damage," Falk explained. 

Engineers took a look at the foundation and concluded it was safe, too. 

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, scour accounts for 60 percent of bridge failures.

Crews rescued a woman clinging to a tree after her car washed away at that intersection.

Surrounding homes and parking lots flooded and it's done so too many times to count. A whole strip mall full of businesses at 103rd & Wornall were shut down for good after the July flood. Cleanup crews were back at the empty square Tuesday morning cleaning out mud and flood water. 

"It's devastating, it's sad. All these businesses lost their way of making a living and then all the wildlife that's been displaced I'm sure," Sturm said. 

Her suggestion: "Maybe build a flood wall."

The water receded quite a bit by the afternoon, but until there's a solution put in place, this likely won't be the last time folks see major flooding in the area.