MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna joined Gov. Mike Parson, lawmakers, and members of the project’s team to announce the selection of the Lunda Team — composed of Lunda Construction Co., Parsons Transportation Group Inc., Dan Brown and Associates, and Hugh Zeng United — as the design-build contractor to replace the bridge. McKenna said the step forward was the result of collaboration across the state.
“This announcement is the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication by a large group of people dedicated to Missouri’s transportation system and infrastructure,” McKenna said. “It required local communities, state lawmakers, and our congressional delegation all working toward that shared vision of a new bridge that made the funding come together.”
The group was chosen because of its plan to construct two bridges, according to Project Manager Brandi Baldwin, reducing long-term maintenance concerns and allowing traffic to continue. Baldwin said construction on the first bridge would begin this fall, with completion expected in spring 2023; the second bridge is scheduled for completion by the end of 2024. Construction is projected to cost $200 million.
The group was selected by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission after receiving applications and proposals from teams earlier this year.
Parson’s administration has heavily emphasized Missouri’s roads and bridges. Parson initiated the Focus on Bridges program in 2019, putting more than $50 million toward bridge repairs last year.
“This bridge lies at the heart of Missouri and not only connects the two sides of our state, it connects the majority of the country,” Parson said. “With over 12 million vehicles using the bridge each year, it is the perfect example of why we must remain dedicated to having a world-class infrastructure in place. Keeping people moving pumps economic life and stability into our state and local communities.”
The bridge has been nicknamed the “Lynchpin of America.” It connects Boone and Cooper counties, Kansas City, and St. Louis — and the country as a whole. It carries more than 12 million vehicles a day, according to MoDOT, including more than 3.5 million trucks. Built in 1960, it has been identified as being in “poor” condition by the state.
The project received an $81.2 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the federal government to assist with the replacement in 2019 and was the subject of a bonding bill in the legislature. Local communities, including Columbia, donated more than $4 million to bolster the project, according to Baldwin.
Last year’s annual report on Missouri bridges from MoDOT’s Highways and Transportation Commission showed 893 “poor” bridges across the state out of a total of 10,400.
Cameron Gerber studied journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, he earned an associate’s degree from State Fair Community College. Cameron is a native of Eldon, Missouri.
Contact Cameron at email@example.com.