KOLR10 Investigation: What MoDOT is doing to ensure safety of local bridges

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — How often do you think about the safety of the bridges you drive on? Chances are, most of us don’t.

But we’re coming into a period of time when you’re going to see a lot of Missouri bridges rehabbed, or replaced, and here’s why.

MoDOT maintains more than 10,000 bridges in our state. 900 are in poor condition.

There are more than 1,100 bridges that are weight restricted statewide because they’ve decayed enough that they can’t support certain amounts of normal traffic.

Gov. Parson and the legislature passed a measure this year that directs $50 million from state general revenue to repair or replace 45 bridges in 2020. Lawmakers also approved a $300 million bond program that will replace more than 200 other bridges over the next several years.

Steve Campbell, a district engineer, said there are 1,800 bridges in this district.

“The vast majority of them were built in the 60s and 70s,” Campbell said. “They are all cycling out.”

Campbell said his teams have increased focus and funding on bridges because of the rate at which they are falling into the poor category.

In 2013, a little more than 100 bridges in southwest Missouri were rated as poor. In just six years, that number nearly doubled.

And as MoDOT gets new money to help fix bad bridges, the cycle won’t stop. A looming concern centers around bridges that are currently in fair condition.

Voters soundly defeated a proposed gas tax increase in 2014, and again in 2018, that would have raised millions for bridge projects.

As MoDOT works to repair and replace bad bridges, the agency is also using new design concepts to help reduce lane closures when maintenance is required on newly built bridges in the future.

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