Kudos to the Missouri Department of Transportation for moving quickly to be ready for construction of a new Mississippi River bridge at Louisiana once funding becomes available.
There’s just one problem – it would be a two-lane structure. This is unacceptable, and shows a tremendous lack of foresight.
Perhaps, traffic counts at this point don’t warrant a four-lane span. But I imagine the same at one time could be said of bridges at Burlington, Keokuk, Hannibal and Quincy.
What’s been overlooked is that Pike County and areas to its south are growing, and traffic counts are rising.
The Highway 61 Avenue of the Saints already is in place and Pike County is developing its already-approved port authority along the river.
With an upgrade of the Highway 54 corridor from Mexico to Louisiana, the county is poised to be an even larger regional transportation hub.
A four-lane bridge would cost more and displace more homes and businesses. But the long-range benefits cannot be understated.
We’ve already proven we can put down ridiculous efforts (the Plan H flood control proposal that would have turned us into swamp dwellers) to stymie economic growth in our area.
So, let’s demand a four-lane crossing at Louisiana. Two lanes are simply too few.