Missouri state transportation officials on Nov. 13 postponed awarding a contract for a project to fix 802 of Missouri's worst bridges within five years.
The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission plans to award a single 30-year contract and was scheduled to choose between two contractors that have submitted proposals for the project.
However, the commission is delaying selection to wait for a recommendation from the Missouri Department of Transportation. Department director Pete Rahn told the commission it needed 30 to 60 more days to make a recommendation, as more than 700,000 documents have been submitted by the two contractors.
The Transportation Department estimates construction costs of between $400 million and $600 million—and the state could end up paying more than double that amount because of financing and maintenance costs.
The state would start paying the contractor only after all the repairs were completed, and the contractor would have to maintain the bridges for the next quarter century.
Almost all of the bridges included in the state’s plan are in poor or serious condition, with many near closure because of cracks and deterioration.
Even if the project is successful, 171 other Missouri bridges in serious or poor condition would not be repaired.