"The Rocheport bridge has long been in need of repair, and we're thrilled that we now have the funds to complete this critical project and trigger our bold transportation plan," Gov. Mike Parson said in a news release. "Transportation drives our economy, and replacing the bridge is a major step toward maintaining our highway system and ensuring we have the framework for access and expansion in the future."
The grant will enable a $240 million project to replace the existing four-lane I-70 bridge with a six-lane structure built just to the south of the current location. It will also allow for the reconstruction of the Route BB interchange just east of the bridge. The existing bridge, which was built in 1960, will continue to be used during construction, meaning there will be very few impacts to traffic. The grant will also construct climbing lanes on I-70 at Mineola Hill in Montgomery County, which will improve safety and traffic flow through the Loutre River valley.
Receipt of the grant will also trigger $301 million in state bonding, authorized by the Missouri General Assembly during the 2019 session, that will repair or replace another 215 bridges across the state. The bonds will be repaid out of state general revenue over a seven-year period. It will also free up $301 million that was already committed to these bridge projects in the current Statewide Transportation Improvement Program to enable other high-priority transportation needs across the state.
The grant will enable the Missouri DOT to begin the environmental assessment and design for the new I-70 bridge, with construction likely to begin sometime in 2021.
SOURCE: Office of Gov. Mike Parson
IMAGE: Chris Light [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons