JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Next week will mark the one year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the start of construction on a bridge in Missouri that became the nation's first recovery act project.
Within minutes of President Barack Obama signing the recovery act into law on Feb. 17, 2009, the Missouri Department of Transportation made history by signing a contract and beginning construction on the replacement of a Depression-era bridge over the Osage River near Tuscumbia, Mo.
"Missouri is the Show Me State," said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. "With this project, we showed the nation that investing in transportation would quickly create jobs and provide economic relief while improving the quality and safety of our roads and bridges."
Today, this recovery act project is a steady symbol of progress. According to a Roads & Bridges magazine article, the bridge is "a prime example of ARRA's intent." Design work was already in process to replace the bridge. Recovery act funds helped push the timetable up, and today the bridge is more than halfway complete. Crews have finished excavation work and built portions of the bridge deck and the approaches on both the north and south sides of the river. Work is under way on the foundation, and soon girders will be placed and the deck spanning the river will be constructed.
The new bridge will be finished this fall. It will provide a much wider and safer passage over the Osage River with two eleven-foot wide traffic lanes and three-foot wide shoulders.
The project also met ARRA's objective to quickly put people back to work and jumpstart the economy. "With a quick blast of an air horn, the project immediately began connecting people with jobs that are still being supported today by ongoing construction on the new span," Rahn said.
The project supports 240 direct, indirect and induced jobs, from employees building the bridge to companies providing concrete, steel and new equipment to local businesses providing amenities like fuel, meals and hotel rooms.
Overall, the $525 million in ARRA funds received by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission will complete work on 196 highway and bridge projects and bolster Missouri's economy by supporting more than 14,000 jobs.