JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Yesterday, construction on the first bridge to be replaced under Governor Mike Parson’s Focus on Bridges program began in northeast Missouri. Work to replace the Route JJ bridge over Price’s Branch near Bellflower in Montgomery County is scheduled to be completed next May.
The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission awarded the construction contract to E&C Bridge of Jamestown, Missouri, in September. The new bridge will cost approximately $516,000 to construct.
“Our administration has and will continue to focus on building up Missouri’s infrastructure, specifically its transportation infrastructure,” Governor Parson said.
Under the Governor’s transportation plan, the Missouri legislature included $50 million in general revenue in the fiscal year 2020 state budget to repair or replace approximately 45 bridges throughout the state and another $50 million for a cost-share program. Construction contracts have been awarded on 38 of those bridges, and all are to be under contract by the end of the year and completed in 2020.
In the State of the State address in January, Governor Parson asked the Missouri legislature to consider a concurrent resolution to fund 250 bridge projects that were already prioritized for repair or replacement in the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The legislature ultimately compromised on a resolution authorizing MoDOT to bond $301 million to repair or replace 215 bridges, contingent upon the receipt of collateral funding in the form of an Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant.
Missouri’s receipt in July of an INFRA grant to replace the Missouri River Bridge near Rocheport triggered the $301 million in state bonding, which will be repaid out of general revenue over a seven-year period.
More good news came in August when MoDOT secured another federal grant for $20.7 million under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Competitive Highway Bridge Program. This grant will enable MoDOT to replace approximately 40 bridges in northern Missouri.
“We have made outstanding progress on Missouri’s bridge infrastructure this year, but we still have a long way to go,” Governor Parson said. “With one of the nation’s largest but lowest-funded highway systems, Missouri currently has 909 bridges in poor condition and more than $8 billion in unfunded transportation needs. Transportation drives our economy, and we will continue working to invest in infrastructure and address these critical road and bridge needs.”