By Ethan Colbert
Before a capacity crowd of local elected officials and civic leaders, Missouri Department of Transportation Project Engineer Keith Killen announced that construction on the new Champ Clark Bridge had reached the halfway point in the construction phase.
“The design-build process has allowed for some great innovation and speed that we might not have seen if we had gone with the traditional bid-build method,” Killen said during a press conference on Friday. “I think we are seeing the impact of that innovation today, considering as we signed a contract a little over a year ago and we are hanging steel today.”
According to Killen and other MoDOT officials, the new Champ Clark Bridge is expected to open to motor vehicle traffic on November 1, 2019.
The new bridge will be more than twice as wide as the current bridge, which is 20-feet wide. The new bridge will have two 12-foot driving lanes and two 10-foot shoulders.
“It is going to be a stark difference between where we are now and where we are going to be in the future,” Killen said in reference to the wider bridge.
An added benefit of the wider bridge is that the bridge will no longer need to be closed for inspections, according to Killen.
“We will be able to leave this bridge open to two lanes of traffic and sit on the shoulder with our equipment,” Killen said. “We will go down the shoulder and be able to see the entire bridge.”
Whenever MoDOT has to close the current Champ Clark Bridge, motorists are forced to take a 77-mile detour.
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