Jefferson City Today, Governor Mike Parson and Missouri Department of Transportation officials were joined by federal, state, and local leaders to commence construction of the new Interstate 70 Missouri River bridges near Rocheport.
“We are thankful to all our partners who saw the importance of this bridge and came to the table to find solutions,” Governor Parson said. “This new bridge will help keep millions of vehicles moving efficiently and support greater state and local economic growth.”
The current bridge was built in 1960 and is rated as being in poor condition, which may have resulted in weight restrictions in the coming years. The 60-year-old bridge is safe and will continue to be maintained by MoDOT while construction of the new bridge is underway. The bridge carries 12.5 million vehicles per year, including 3.6 million trucks.
The new Missouri River bridge will cost approximately $240 million and will provide a safe and reliable bridge for interstate travelers for the next 100 years. This project was funded in part by an $81.2 million Infrastructure For Rebuilding America Grant, the largest competitive grant ever received by MoDOT.
“Of course, this bridge is not the only Missouri bridge in need of repair. There are hundreds of bridges across the state that need rebuilt or replaced, but this project shows we are making real progress by working together,” Governor Parson said. “We are extremely proud of the work accomplished by our MoDOT team and look forward to seeing what else they achieve in the coming years."
Governor Parson was joined by Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Missouri Senator Caleb Rowden, Boone County Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill, Cooper County Presiding Commissioner Don Baragary, and Columbia Mayor Brian Treece. Also, in attendance were several Missouri Legislators, representatives from Senator Roy Blunt’s office, local city and county leaders, officials from MoDOT, and members of the team that will design and build the new bridge. Participants were able to take turns tightening bolts on a ceremonial beam, officially launching construction on the project.
“This bridge was designed with the future of Interstate 70 and the safety of the traveling public in-mind,” said MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna. “When complete, it will include two bridges, one in each direction of travel, each wide enough for four lanes of traffic. This approach also allows us to construct both bridges with limited impacts to traffic.”
The new bridges will include many safety enhancements, including a high friction surface treatment and pavement sensors to reduce weather-related incidents, wet reflective striping, and a linear delineation system (a line of reflective signs along the barrier wall) to help increase lane and bridge visibility.
The first bridge will be built north of the current bridge and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023. Traffic will then be transitioned to the new bridge, the current bridge will be demolished, and construction is scheduled to be completed on the eastbound bridge by the end of 2024.
For more information on this project, or to subscribe to emails and updates regarding the new bridge’s progress, visit www.modot.org/RocheportBridge.