The years dragged in Fenton as businesses, residents and city officials endured the often-delayed demolition of the Old Gravois Road bridge and then the months and months it took to build the a span across the Meramec River between Olde Towne Fenton and Sunset Hills.
The waiting game came to and end last summer as the new Old Gravois Road bridge opened and then was dedicated a week later at a festive city-wide celebration of Fenton's 175th birthday. It had been five years since the old bridge had been deemed unsafe by a St. Louis County inspection team. The new bridge opened in August, bringing an end to the community headache of detouring around the closed span.
That's why it was startling to see a sign posted at the bridge this week that announced it would be closed again - for one morning only on Thanksgiving Day.
As Fenton City administrator Mark Sartors explained it, the City of Sunset Hills requested the bridge closure because of Sunset Hills' Turkey Trot 5K race on Thanksgiving morning.
"They asked if we'd do it, so we did," Sartors said. "It's only for a few hours this time."
Two hours to be precise, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Sartors said there's not likely to be much traffic on Thanksgiving morning, but keeping cars from crossing the bridge will help protect runners in the Turkey Trot race, which benefits Rosemary's Fund.
So, motorists be aware. If you're gong to visit grandmother's house in Sunset Hills on Thanksgiving Day, you'll have to think back to the route you used during those long years of demolition and subsequent construction of the Old Gravois Road bridge.