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Missouri project would speed up repairs for bad bridges



Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri lawmakers are poised to approve a massive bridge repair project that could serve as a national roadmap for renovating aging infrastructure.

Missouri plans to quadruple the pace of its bridge repairs by awarding a single 30-year contract to fix and maintain 802 of its worst bridges.

The sheer scope and duration of the project is so unusual that Missouri lawmakers are meeting in a special session to waive conventional contractor requirements.

The House passed the plan overwhelmingly. The Senate is expected to give its final approval this week.

Missouri highway officials had outlined the plan almost a year before a bridge collapse in Minneapolis killed 13 people and raised nationwide concerns about poor bridges.

The plan would require the winning contractor to fix or replace all 802 bridges within five years, a task that otherwise would take two decades at Missouri's current pace.

The state would start paying the contractor only after all the repairs are complete, and the contractor would have to maintain the bridges in satisfactory condition for the next 25 years.