Joplin Governor Mike Parson today visited one of the 250 bridges slated to be repaired or replaced under a statewide bridge program he proposed during his State of the State address on January 16.
“Our bold proposal will allow us to begin immediate work on these bridge projects identified by local communities and planning organizations as most in need of critical repair or replacement,”Governor Parson said. “Additionally, it will enable us to deliver additional high-priority transportation projects statewide using the funding already dedicated to these bridges.”
The bridge he visited is on Range Line Road, a critical north-south artery in Joplin, and carries 28,000 vehicles per day over the Kansas City Southern Railroad. The 61-year-old structure is in poor condition, and Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) engineers believe that without rehabilitation or replacement load restrictions would be imposed within five years.
Joplin Mayor Gary Shaw said he is happy to see the bridge on the list.
“This bridge is not only critical to our emergency response efforts, but it also carries a good number of buses for the Joplin Public School System,” Mayor Shaw said. “This project will also add sidewalks to the bridge, which makes it much safer for pedestrians.”
Governor Parson’s bridge proposal asks the Missouri General Assembly to consider funding 250 bridge projects out of general revenue, which would prioritize infrastructure needs and accelerate construction of every project in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The STIP is developed with the input of over 1,000 stakeholders and 26 planning organizations across the state.
Missouri has 10,385 bridges on the state highway system – sixth most in the nation. Of that total, 922 are in poor condition and 1,194 are weight restricted (450 fall into both categories). Each bridge project on the Governor’s plan would have a lifespan of 50-75 years after its completion.