The state’s plan to replace 800 of its worst bridges has hit another milestone. The state transportation department’s plan to replace 802 bridges by the end of 2013 is on pace to be finished a year early.  About two months after the program reached the halfway point, it has replaced the 500th bridge. The latest milestone bridge replaced is over a Perry County Creek on Highway 61. 

Rainy weather and flooding have provided some problems for construction crews, but department spokesman Bob Brendel says crew just move on to a bridge that doesn’t have those problems and work on it.   The end result is going to be a record year for new bridges in Missouri–350 of them.

The department says the average bridge replacement results in a road closure of almost three months.  But the advance planning for and common design of the replacement bridges cuts that time to an average of 40 days.  

Brendel expects the 600th bridge to be replaced well before the end of the year, with only about 150 bridges left for next year.

Bob Brendel interview 3:32 MP3