A panel appointed by the Missouri House to study the state’s transportation needs released its final report today, one day before the start of the 2013 legislative session.
It states that Missouri needs an additional $600 million to $1 billion a year – for several years – to maintain roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure. The report lays out several options for meeting that gap, but doesn’t recommend any specific funding methods. Retired Democratic State Senator Bill McKenna co-chaired the Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee on Missouri's Transportation Needs. He says some of the options won’t appeal to the Republican majority.
Ground was broken Thursday on the new Daniel Boone Bridge just west of Chesterfield.
The $111 million project will replace a 75-year-old span over the Missouri River and link St. Louis and St. Charles Counties.
MoDOT District Engineer Ed Hassinger says the bridge is the final project to make I-64 a true, interstate-quality, highway.
“We’re thrilled today to start on the project,” Hassinger says. “The design is about 90 percent complete and you’re going to see people starting work on the ground this month. The plan is that we’ll have the new bridge open in 2014.”
The Missouri Department of Transportation says it’s ready for the winter storm that’s supposed to hit the St. Louis area over Christmas.
MoDOT crews are busy pre-treating the roads, said department spokesman Drew Gates. He says if the weather allows, crews will take a break Christmas morning to spend some time with their families before the bulk of the storm hits.
A special committee of transportation officials is still reviewing the amount of money MoDOT workers and State Troopers pay for health insurance.
Most of the committee members are leaning towards a proposal from the Highway Patrol, which would have the state pay 60 percent of the cost and the individual employee or retiree 40 percent. Rudy Farber is chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. He says under the current system, the amount of coverage a worker pays varies based on numerous factors.
Got plans to travel to downtown St. Louis this weekend? Watch out for lane and road closures.
In addition to lane closures on the Blanchette Bridge, MoDOT will close the two right lanes on westbound I-64 across the Poplar Street Bridge approximately an hour after the start of Game 4 of the NLCS, which would be around 8 p.m. The lanes will remain closed until noon on Sunday.
Clifton Scott, 50, is the first MoDOT worker killed in the line of duty since Missouri's Move Over law was expanded last month to include Dept. of Transportation employees and vehicles. He was one of two MoDOT workers who responded during pre-dawn hours to a four-vehicle crash on I-70 in Independence. Scott was placing cones on the highway to re-route traffic around 2:50 a.m. when he was struck by another vehicle. Scott died at the scene, and the driver who struck him was seriously injured after crashing into Scott's truck. Chris Redline is an engineer with MoDOT’s Kansas City office.