U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and Congressman Sam Graves from Missouri's 6th District announced Monday that Missouri will receive an $81.2 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to build a new Interstate 70 Missouri River Bridge at Rocheport.

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and Congressman Sam Graves from Missouri’s 6th District announced Monday that Missouri will receive an $81.2 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to build a new Interstate 70 Missouri River Bridge at Rocheport. 

“Since becoming Governor, improving Missouri's infrastructure has been a major focus for our administration. 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," Governor Mike Parson said in a statement issued on Monday. "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. We appreciate Senator Blunt, Secretary Chao, and President Trump's continued support and commitment to infrastructure in Missouri." 

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, as well as reconstruct the Route BB interchange just east of the bridge, according to Gov. Parson on Monday. The existing bridge, which was built in 1960, will continue to be used during construction. The grant will also be used to construct climbing lanes on I-70 at Mineola Hill in Montgomery County, to 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, Gov. Parson said on Monday. The bonds will be repaid out of state general revenue over a seven-year period, and the grant 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. 

Projects will be identified in cooperation with local planning partners, according to Gov. Parson.

“I want to thank Governor Parson for his leadership and commitment to Missouri’s infrastructure needs,” Missouri Department of Transportation Director Patrick McKenna said on Monday. “This could not have happened without his determination and unwavering support of infrastructure investment. Senator Blunt and Representatives Graves, Hartzler, Hawley, and other members of the Missouri Congressional delegation are to be commended for keeping the project top of mind in the nation’s capital. Thanks, too, to leaders in the City of Columbia, the City of Boonville, and Boone and Cooper counties for their commitment of $4.2 million in local funds that when leveraged with state and federal dollars will make a new bridge a reality.”

MoDOT will now begin the environmental assessment and design for the new bridge, with construction likely to begin sometime in 2021. Public information meetings scheduled for Wednesday, July 24 in Columbia and Tuesday, July 30 in Boonville to discuss the rehabilitation of the I-70 bridge over the Missouri River near Rocheport have been postponed.