JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.—Most of Missouri’s worst bridges will be repaired or replaced by 2012 under a new initiative planned by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). The Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Plan targets for improvement 800 bridges currently in poor condition. To fix so many bridges in a short amount of time, MoDOT seeks to award a single contract to design and build the bridge upgrades, as well as to maintain the bridges in good condition for at least 25 years.

"This is an extremely innovative program we’re attempting—I don’t know of any other transportation department in the nation tackling their bridges so aggressively—and I’m excited to see how the contracting industry will respond," said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. "There are more than 10,000 bridges on Missouri’s state highway system, and too many of them need work. Rather than improve just a handful every year while the rest continue to wear down, we need to do something dramatic to get them in good shape quickly.

"MoDOT is evaluating the state’s bridge system to identify the 800 bridges that most need to be improved," Rahn said. "Bidders will have until 2012 to get these bridges in good condition, then keep them that way for at least 25 years. The idea is to allow the bidders flexibility to encourage innovative approaches and affordable financing.

A list of bridges to be improved is expected to be complete late this year, with bids submitted and a winner approved by the summer of 2007. The Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Plan is expected to cost between $400 million and $600 million. MoDOT will dedicate existing federal bridge replacement funds to finance the program.

More details about the program are available online.