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Capitol Briefs: Preparation for Rocheport bridge replacement begins this week

After years of discussion and planning, contractors are set to take the first step in the replacement of the I-70 bridge near Rocheport Thursday evening.

Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) crews will begin strengthening the shoulders and median along the interstate overnight, causing intermittent lane closures in Boone and Cooper counties. Work is expected to occur throughout the week with closures between 7 p.m.-6 a.m. through October. 

The $200 million project will replace the four-lane bridge which has been classified as being in “poor” condition by the state for several years. The replacement, handled by the Lunda Team, will result in two bridges constructed to mitigate the traffic impact and is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. 

  • Construction on the first bridge is set to begin this fall, with a projected completion date of Spring 2023. It will take on traffic while the original structure is demolished and replaced with the second bridge. 
  • A groundbreaking ceremony is expected in October, according to project manager Brandi Baldwin, though no official date has been set. 
  • 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 donated more than $4 million to bolster the project, according to Baldwin. 
  • 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 year, according to MoDOT, including more than 3.5 million trucks. It was constructed in 1960.  

Cover rendering provided by MoDOT.