JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Transportation is celebrating the completion of Gov. Mike Parson’s Focus on Bridges program that restored or replaced 250 of the state’s poorest bridges over the last four years. Established in 2019, the Focus on Bridges program was one of Gov. Parson’s first major investments in transportation infrastructure.
The final project replaced the Blue Ridge Boulevard bridge over Interstate 70 in Independence and made interchange improvements to the ramps and approaches. The bridge will officially reopen to motorists on Dec. 22, just four years after the first bridge under the program opened on Dec. 20, 2019, in Iron County.
“Infrastructure has been a top priority since day one, and four years ago, we set out to replace 250 of our poorest bridges through the Focus on Bridges program,” Gov. Parson said. “Today, we are proud to celebrate the 250th bridge completed as promised. From St. Louis to Springfield, from the Bootheel to the great Northwest, this program benefited Missourians everywhere. Focus on Bridges is a bold, one-of-a-kind program that leveraged general revenue to make far-reaching improvements to our infrastructure for the first time in generations. While there is more to do, we know we have made a real difference and created a lasting model that will continue to serve Missourians now and into the future.”
MoDOT is responsible for maintaining 10,424 bridges on the state system, the sixth most in the nation. The average age of the bridges is 49 years, and most of them were designed to last 50 years. Prior to Governor Parson’s focus on infrastructure, the number of bridges rated as “poor” using Federal Highway Administration criteria, were increasing year over year rather than declining as now seen in Missouri. Currently, there are 804 bridges that have been rated “poor” using Federal Highway Administration criteria, down 19 from a year ago.
“The completion of the Focus on Bridges program is an example of the progress being made to Missouri’s bridges and Gov. Parson’s commitment to moving Missouri forward,” MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said. “I applaud the governor for his leadership and commitment to improving Missouri’s bridges and roadways. We will continue to work towards reducing the number of poor bridges in Missouri as additional federal and state revenue becomes available.”
Gov. Parson’s Focus on Bridges program was truly innovative and was made possible through a $50 million appropriation from General Revenue as well as $301 million in bond revenue approved by the Missouri General Assembly in 2019. Maintaining the state’s bridges helps provide a world-class transportation system that is safe, innovative, and reliable.
For a list of the projects completed under the Focus on Bridges program, visit Focus on Bridges (modot.org).
Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Erica N. Guy decided to stay in her hometown to begin her professional career in journalism. Since obtaining her bachelor’s degree from UAPB, Erica has professionally written for several publications about several topics ranging from lifestyle, tech, culture, and entertainment, just to name a few. Continuing her love for her hometown, she joined our team in June 2023, where she is currently a staff writer. Her career goals include continuing storytelling through her writing by being the best professional writer she can be. In her spare time, Erica enjoys trying new foods, cozying up with a good book, spending time with family and friends, and establishing herself as a future businesswoman.