ST. LOUIS - A total of $300 million to $500 million over the next 10 years will be required for the Missouri Department of Transportation to address the most pressing needs of its major bridges, MoDOT Chief Engineer Kevin Keith told the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission today.
There are 203 such structures in the state - those more than 1,000-feet long - 53 of which span either the Missouri or Mississippi rivers. On average, they are 33 years old and carry 21,000 vehicles per day. While they represent only three percent of the span-type bridges in the state, they account for 25 percent of the driving surface of all MoDOT bridges.
"These bridges are a major investment, and we need to do more to keep them in good shape," Keith told commissioners. "It would cost $7 billion to replace all of them. But with proper maintenance, many of these bridges can safely carry traffic for 100 years."
MoDOT's construction program for the next five years includes projects to improve only 41 major bridges. But a MoDOT team that has been analyzing major bridge needs since January concluded that an additional investment of $300 million to $500 million is needed over the next 10 years to raise all major bridges to "satisfactory" condition.
"At the $300 million level, we'll be able to eliminate emergency closures due to deterioration and provide a minimum roadway width of 24 feet on the bridges that have two-way traffic. At the $500 million level, we'd also be able to replace another seven to 11 major bridges that really need it," Keith said.
The Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program, scheduled for award next month, will repair 802 of Missouri's most worn-out bridges, but those are mostly smaller structures, with an average length of 150 feet.Editor's note:
For a complete list of MoDOT's 203 major bridges, which also designates those scheduled for improvements in the next five years, please visit the MoDOT Newsroom