The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) on Nov. 11 announced plans for construction of the new Interstate 70 Missouri River bridge near Rocheport to begin in late 2021. The design-build project will be completed by a contractor and designer team. That contract is scheduled to be awarded by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission in July 2021. Construction will take several years and the new bridge is expected to be opened to traffic by the end of 2024.
Brandi Baldwin, project director of MoDOT, said there have already been several steps completed in preparation for construction of the new bridge.
"Before we are able to move forward with any construction plans, there are several factors that we have to assess," Baldwin said. "Last December we started the re-evaluation of an environmental study that had been completed for the bridge in 2005. In March, we conducted geological testing and survey gathering that provided valuable information about the area's rock and soil stability."
MoDOT also announced the goals of the project, which start with meeting the expectation of delivering the project under the expected $240 million budget while still providing a quality product. The design-build contractor team will work to minimize traffic impacts during construction while focusing on the safety of the traveling public and the workers.
"Local, state and federal agencies and lawmakers worked collaboratively to fund this project," said Machelle Watkins, MoDOT central district engineer. "It is one of our top priorities to use the money entrusted to us to build a quality product that will benefit travelers for decades to come."
The current Rocheport Bridge was built in 1960 and is rated in poor condition. Further delays in replacing the bridge could have resulted in weight restrictions. Rehabilitation work would have only extended the life of the bridge by as little as 10 years and could have caused three-to-eight-hour backups along I-70.
For more information, visit modot.org/RocheportBridge.