JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Transportation marked a milestone today in its mission to fix 802 of the state's worst bridges in five years by reopening the first bridge repaired under the Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program.
This afternoon, MoDOT, Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and county officials celebrated the rehabilitation of the bridge over Hominy Creek on Route AA north of Route 32 near the city of Halfway in Polk County. The bridge, which had been closed for repairs since Feb. 23, was reopened with a parade of vehicles representing critical services the bridge carries, such as emergency responders and school buses.
Two other Safe & Sound projects are also finishing up this week - one on Route 17 over Eleven Point River in Howell County and the other on Route F over Wolf Creek in St. Francois County. Missourians can track MoDOT's progress through an interactive map at www.modot.org/safeandsound.
"We made a commitment to Missourians that we would improve hundreds of the state's worst bridges, and we are delivering on that promise," said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. "MoDOT is addressing more bridges than we ever have before thanks to the Safe & Sound initiative, as well as the normal bridge work scheduled in our five-year construction program, ongoing corridor work and now upcoming recovery act projects."
The 142-foot, two-lane bridge over Hominy Creek was built in 1966. Under the Safe & Sound program, Burk Bridge Co. of Brookline, Mo, replaced the deck in just 60 days for a low-bid amount of $225,919.
Immediately after the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved the Safe & Sound program on Sept. 18, 2008, MoDOT went to work and was able to get the first bridges under construction within five months.
"Once we commit to a project, it's full steam ahead," Rahn said. "We went to work immediately to get 100 of these projects designed, placed out for bid, awarded and under construction in record time because Missourians simply deserve better bridges. Thanks to the cooperation of our consultant and contractor partners, dozens of these bridges are now under construction and will be fixed by the end of the year."
There are 248 rehabilitation projects being delivered through MoDOT's normal bidding process, with 109 under contract by June. Work on the remaining 139 bridges will be spread out over the next four years. Additionally, the Commission expects to select a team in May to award a single design-build contract for a package of 554 bridge replacements. Some of those bridges will be under construction this year, too. Most bridges will be closed to speed construction and reduce cost.
"I want to thank Missourians for their patience as we fix hundreds of bridges across the state," Rahn said. "There is no way around it, bridge closings are an inconvenience at best. However, there's no other way we can cost-effectively fix such a large number of bridges so quickly."
There are 10,249 bridges on Missouri's state highway system, the seventh largest total in the nation. Approximately 1,200 of them are in poor or serious condition. The Safe & Sound initiative will address many of these bridges. All 802 bridges will be complete by Oct. 31, 2014. The total cost of the program is estimated at $700 million.