Thanks to a stabilizing funding situation with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), Northeast Missouri will see more money than ever poured into state-maintained road and bridge projects over the next five years.

Thanks to a stabilizing funding situation with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), Northeast Missouri will see more money than ever poured into state-maintained road and bridge projects over the next five years.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved the preliminary 2018-2022 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) during its meeting on Thursday, June 29 in Bowling Green. The STIP budgets funds for road and bridge (and other) improvements over a five-year period.

An analysis of the current and previous STIP budgets shows Northeast Missouri will receive the largest percentage increase in monies devoted to road and bridge improvements from five years ago compared to every other MoDOT district in the state.

List: 5 major road projects in the area in the next 5 years

The five-year budget for Northeast Missouri (which runs from Clark County in the north to Warren County in the south) has risen to $266.8 million for fiscal years 2018-2022 from $123.7 million for fiscal years 2013-2017 — a 115.63 percent increase.

Replacement of the Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana accounts for a large part in the spike in Northeast Missouri’s highway and bridge project budget. The project is expected to cost in the ballpark of $65 million and was awarded to Massman Construction and HTNB also on June 29.

But aside from the Champ Clark Bridge project, most of Northeast Missouri can expect to see more projects undertaken in the next five years. The number of projects budgeted specifically for Marion County, as an example, has doubled from five years ago. The scope of the projects have also dramatically increased.

From 2012-2016, MoDOT budgeted $6.285 million for seven improvement projects in Marion County. The amount budgeted for 2018-2022 is in excess of $36 million for 14 projects.

Nearly every major thoroughfare in Marion County is scheduled for some type of improvement over the next five years, along with a handful of bridge replacements. The most expensive project in the area (aside from the Clark Bridge replacement) is a $9 million project to improve pavement on Highway 24/61 from the the Mississippi River across from Quincy to Route F where 61 and 24 separate. That project is supposed to be awarded in the fall of 2018.

In Ralls County, improvements to the pavement on Route 79 will cost approximately $2.64 million. That project is expected to take place in 2020 and is the most expensive in that county.

Other major projects include ADA compliance improvements to U.S. Highway 61 through Hannibal, upgrades to the pavement of U.S. Highway 54 in Pike County and pavement improvements on eastbound U.S. Highway 36 from Monroe City to Hannibal.

Missouri Highways and Transportation Commissioner Mary Nelson complimented MoDOT Northeast District Engineer Paula Gough on stretching the dollar over the past several years to be able to spend more in the coming years.

Gough, at the MHTC meeting on June 29, said asset management has been critical to saving enough money to tackle larger projects in the coming years. She said the district saved $2.6 million from the past winter, a mild one that did not require much manpower to deal with winter weather.

Reach editor Eric Dundon at eric.dundon@courierpost.com .