The northbound U.S. 61 bridge in Hannibal is among 250 Missouri bridges in Gov. Mike Parson's $350 million proposed five-year bridge plan.

The northbound U.S. 61 bridge in Hannibal is among 250 Missouri bridges in Gov. Mike Parson's $350 million proposed five-year bridge plan.

Parson was joined by MoDOT and local leaders in explaining his plan Wednesday, Feb. 13, at a press conference on General Mills property near this bridge, after the group walked under the bridge located just south of the U.S. 61 and Market Street junction.

Parson said 9,300 vehicles use the bridge daily, including 25 percent commercial traffic. He said the deck needs to be replaced.

MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said the $1.4 million project would be scheduled for completion in 2020 or 2021.

The five-year plan would begin soon, if Parson's proposal is approved this year by the Missouri General Assembly. “This long-term investment would have a lifespan of 50 years,” he said.

“Our plan to address Missouri's critical infrastructure needs, funded through budget savings, will accelerate more than $1 billion worth of local projects with no new tax dollars,” he said. The proposal would allow MoDOT and the Office of Administration to agree to fund the 250 bridge projects. It is set up to supplement existing transportation revenue with general revenue to pay off the debt. It calls for bond proceeds to be deposited into the State Road Fund, so the funds would be constitutionally protected and regularly audited to ensure they are only used for state road and bridge projects.

Parson said two things are needed in Missouri: “workforce development, and we have to show we can meet the demands of tomorrow.”

The governor's office reported Missouri has 10,385 bridges in the state highway system, the sixth most in the nation. Of that total, 922 are in poor condition, and 1,194 are weight-restricted (450 fall into both categories).

MoDOT provided a map showing each bridge included in the plan. The MoDOT report states MoDOT collaborates with regional planning groups to identify local priorities, based on projected available funding. The plans are brought together to form the department's Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, which outlines five years of transportation improvements.

bev.darr@courierpost.com