MoDOT is set to receive over $20-million in federal grant money to assist in replacing 40 bridges in rural northern Missouri.

Governor Mike Parson's office says MoDOT will be able to replace 40 bridges in the northern part of the state as a result of an announcement by Congressman Sam Graves, in which Missouri has received a $20.7 million federal grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Competitive Highway Bridge Program.

Parson's office says the bridges, all located north of I-70, are in poor condition, weight-restricted, supported by timber pile, and one-lane wide but carry two-way traffic. In addition to removing current detours and preventing future ones, the grant will help increase safety on the state’s rural roads and reduce costs associated with maintaining the bridges.

"Missouri's infrastructure, specifically bridge infrastructure, has been a key focus for our administration since day one. This grant continues the momentum we’ve gained in recent months to invest in infrastructure improvements," Governor Parson said. "Missouri’s farm-to-market roads are critical connections to Missouri’s highways, railways, and waterways, allowing our farmers to compete in the global marketplace. The bridges that will be replaced as a result of this grant would have posed obstacles to that connectivity had they been further weight restricted or closed."

“When this project is complete, there will be no bridges remaining in northern Missouri that meet those criteria,” State Bridge Engineer Dennis Heckman said. He said the bridges, on average, are 77 years old and deteriorating rapidly.

Only 25 states were eligible to apply for the $225 million in the Competitive Highway Bridge Program – those with a population density of 100 or less per square mile, according to a press release from Parson's office. The grant also required that bridges be bundled in a single contract.

“This $225 million in federal funding will enable 18 states to make vital upgrades to select bridges in rural areas,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Secretary Chao announced the grant funding today during her remarks at the Coastal Regional Transportation Summit in Biloxi.

MoDOT intends to pursue a design-build contract to deliver this project.

The Competitive Highway Bridge Program grant comes on the heels of an $81.2 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to build a new I-70 Missouri River Bridge at Rocheport.

Receipt of the INFRA grant will also trigger $301 million in state bonding, authorized by the Missouri General Assembly during the 2019 legislative session, that will repair or replace another 215 bridges across the state.

“We are poised to deliver these bridge improvement projects as quickly, efficiently, and innovatively as possible,” MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said. “We are grateful to Congressman Graves, Governor Parson, and Missouri legislators for their support of additional investment in transportation in Missouri.”

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