ST. JOSEPH - A crowd of more than 60 were on hand yesterday to help open the Route 11 Bridge over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in Chariton County, the 802nd and final bridge in the Missouri Department of Transportation's Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program. This was also the 190th bridge opened in the Northwest.
Missouri Highways and Transportation Commissioners, MoDOT staff, employees of KTU Constructors, the Northwestern R-1 band, local residents, political representatives and even Barrel Bob were all present to help celebrate the completion of the Safe & Sound program two years ahead of schedule.
"This was a fabulous program - the biggest bridge program in Missouri history," said MHTC Chairman Rudy Farber. "It's really hard to imagine - 802 new or improved bridges in just 3-1/2 years. Missourians aren't likely to see this type of improvement project again until we solve this funding shortage. We are committed to maintain our current system for as long as possible, but significant projects, like the one we are celebrating today, will be curtailed."
The Route 11 BNSF Bridge, located five miles north of Mendon, closed for construction on Sept. 4 after being delayed several weeks when migratory birds were discovered on the bridge structure. A video about the bridge and its construction is available at http://www.modot.org/northwest/. Photos of the ceremony can also be accessed from the website on the flickr account.
The Safe & Sound Program was a two-pronged program to improve more than 800 of the state's poorest bridges in five years by Oct. 31, 2014. The 802 bridges were divided into two groups: 248 were identified for rehabilitation (typically, a new deck on existing substructure) by MoDOT and 554 were completely replaced by KTU Constructors. KTU committed to complete their portion by Dec. 31, 2013, and they are ahead of that schedule by 14 months. The total cost of the entire program was $685 million.
For a complete list of bridges included in the Safe & Sound Program in Northwest Missouri as well as before and after photos, visit www.modot.mo.gov/northwest/safeandsound/index2.htm.
For more information about this and other MoDOT projects, call 1-888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/northwest and view the online Traveler Information Map. In addition, MoDOT provides updated information on Twitter @MoDOTNorthwest and Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOTNWDistrict.