In rural North Missouri, we travel a lot of miles every day—it’s just a fact of life. We know that our roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair. Inadequately maintained roads and bridges cause needless delays and detours, greatly impacting public safety and commerce.
Some bridges have been reduced to one lane, increasing the risk of accidents and causing confusion. Others are weight limited, keeping school buses, semis and farm equipment from using them. Inconvenient as they may be, these cautionary measures are designed to keep the bridges open to smaller vehicle traffic, until they can be replaced.
The State of Missouri suffers from a large number of structurally deficient bridges, many of which are in my district. The average bridge in Missouri is 48 years old—most were only designed to last for 50 years. As a result, more than 900 bridges in our state are rated as “poor’ by the Federal Highway Administration. Right now, MODOT simply doesn’t have the money to fix and replace all of these bridges.
That said, we are making progress when it comes fixing and replacing these aging bridges. This week I was pleased to announce that the Missouri Department of Transportation will be receiving a $20.7 million federal grant to fix many of our bridges in North Missouri.
The grant money will go to MODOT’s Fixing Access to Rural Missouri (FARM) bridge replacement program. The program proposes to replace 40 bridges, specifically in North Missouri. This will go a long way towards updating our crumbling infrastructure. Not only will these bridges get replaced, but it will also enable other important rural transportation projects to be completed earlier than expected. I applaud MODOT’s focus on upgrading North Missouri’s rural infrastructure.
Ensuring we maintain and upgrade our infrastructure continues to be a top priority of mine because it is so critical to folks in rural and urban Missouri alike. I look forward to seeing these bridges constructed for the continued safety and economic vitality of North Missouri.