Cross-state travelers will avoid months of lengthy traffic delays as a result of the announcement July 22 that Missouri will receive an $81.2 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to build a new I-70 Missouri River Bridge at Rocheport.
The grant will enable a $240 million project to replace the existing four-lane I-70 bridge with a six-lane structure built just to the south of the current location, as well as reconstruct the Route BB interchange just east of the bridge. The existing bridge, which was built in 1960, will continue to be used during construction, meaning there will be very few impacts to traffic. Receipt of the grant will also trigger $301 million in state bonding, authorized by the Missouri General Assembly during the 2019 session, that will repair or replace another 215 bridges across the state.
The grant will enable MoDOT to begin the environmental assessment and design for the new bridge, with construction likely to begin sometime in 2021.
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and U.S. Representative Sam Graves (Mo.), Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, along with U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (Mo.), and U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), announced the INFRA grant award on July 22.
“The Rocheport Bridge is a vital component of our nation’s highway system, carrying millions of people and billions of dollars in freight every year,” said Blunt. “Replacing the bridge will create a safer, more reliable transportation route for businesses, travelers and local residents. This has been one of the top infrastructure priorities for our state and I appreciate Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s support for getting it done. Location is our greatest competitive advantage in Missouri, and I’ll continue advocating for the federal resources necessary to improve our state’s transportation system and keep our economy growing.”
“Replacing the Rocheport bridge is critical to maintaining one of the busiest transportation corridors in Missouri and the country. As Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I’m pleased to see the INFRA grant program used for this critical project,” said Graves. “This grant will not only help replace this aging structure, it will also free up much-needed dollars to maintain our roads and bridges around the state – including 76 aging bridges in North Missouri. I applaud Secretary Chao and President Trump for their continued focus on fixing our crumbling infrastructure and congratulate MODOT on working diligently to find a way to replace this bridge.”
“Replacing the Rocheport Bridge is a huge victory for our state,” said Hawley. “This critical infrastructure investment will benefit Missouri residents and businesses by providing safe and reliable passage for the more-than 12 million vehicles that travel across the bridge each year. I am grateful to the administration for prioritizing the critical infrastructure needs of Missouri, and I applaud the Missouri Department of Transportation for their efforts to secure these funds.”
“I am thrilled we are receiving the INFRA grant! This award is critical not only for the citizens of Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District and mid-Missouri, but for travelers and truckers across the nation who traverse our great state,” said Hartzler. “This is a prime example of communities and tax dollars working together to address a critical need. It has been an honor to advocate for this alongside Senator Roy Blunt, the Missouri congressional delegation, Governor Mike Parson, the Missouri legislature, the counties of Boone and Cooper, and the cities of Columbia and Boonville who all stood together making the case for why we need to replace the Rocheport bridge. I am glad the INFRA federal dollars will leverage the local dollars to provide a new bridge we can all be proud connecting the east and west coasts of America.”
Governor Parson announced the state's commitment to replacing the bridge.
“Since becoming Governor, improving Missouri's infrastructure has been a major focus for our administration. The Rocheport bridge has long been in need of repair, and we're thrilled that we now have the funds to complete this critical project and trigger our bold transportation plan," Governor Mike Parson said. "Transportation drives our economy, and replacing the bridge is a major step toward maintaining our highway system and ensuring we have the framework for access and expansion in the future. We appreciate Senator Blunt, Secretary Chao, and President Trump's continued support and commitment to infrastructure in Missouri."
Read Senator Blunt's press release at https://www.blunt.senate.gov/news/press-releases/blunt-graves-hawley-hartzler-announce-812-million-grant-for-rocheport-bridge-replacement
Read Governor Parson's press release at https://governor.mo.gov/press-releases/archive/governor-parsons-transportation-plan-receives-federal-funding