Missouri has received a $20.7 million federal grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Competitive Highway Bridge Program, Congressman Sam Graves from Missouri’s 6th District announced today. The federal grant supports Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s focus on improving Missouri’s infrastructure, specifically bridge infrastructure.

Through the federal grant, the Missouri Department of Transportation will be able to replace 40 bridges  located north of Interstate 70 that are on average 77 years old and deteriorating rapidly, state bridge engineer Dennis Heckman says. The bridges 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, according to the governor. 

"This grant continues the momentum we’ve gained in recent months to invest in infrastructure improvements," Gov. Parson says. "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." 

Merely 25 states have a population density of 100 or less per square mile, making them eligible to apply for the $225 million in the Competitive Highway Bridge Program. The grant required bridges be bundled in a single contract. MoDOT intends to pursue a design-build contract to deliver this project. 

The Competitive Highway Bridge Program grant comes in the wake of U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and Congressman Graves announcement that Missouri was awarded 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. 

The INFRA grant enabled 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 Parson in July. The existing bridge, which was built in 1960, will continue to be used during construction. 

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. The bonds will be repaid out of state general revenue over a seven-year period, according to the Governor in July.

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