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Missouri Gets More Money To Replace Rural Bridges

The Route J bridge over Grassy Creek in Lewis County is one of 40 rural bridges in northern Missouri that will be replaced over the next five years thanks to a $21 million federal grant.
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Missouri has received another $21 million in federal funding to repair the state’s bridges.

Missouri was one of just 25 states eligible for the grants, which come from the Competitive Highway Bridge Program. The money will allow the Missouri Department of Transportation to replace 40 bridges on state highways north of Interstate 70.

All of the bridges are in poor condition and have weight restrictions, which makes it difficult for farmers to move crops and equipment. They are also all one lane wide but accommodate two-way traffic. The state had estimated that if nothing was done, more than half the bridges on the list would have been permanently closed in eight years.  

Marisa Ellison, communications manager for MoDOT’s northeast district, said some of the bridges were already part of the state’s latest five-year transportation plan. The new grant, she said, will in some cases speed up that work. The 20 bridges on the list in her district should be replaced in five to seven years.

The latest grant “continues the momentum we’ve gained in recent months to invest in infrastructure improvements,” Gov. Mike Parson said in a statement. “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." 

In July, the state received $81 million in federal funding to build a new bridge on Interstate 70 near Rocheport. That authorized $300 million in state borrowing, which will enable MoDOT to repair another 215 bridges.

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Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.