The State Transportation Department finishes a three and a half year project today making 802 bridges in Missouri safe. Crews are reopening a bridge in Chariton County today that marks the completion of a $685 million project.

Safe and Sound Project Director Ken Warbritton says the project is funded through GARVEE bonds, which will be paid back through federal allowances each year.

Warbritton says there was no single part of the state exempt from having worn-down bridges, and crews have been working throughout the state, however, he says the heaviest concentration of bridges needing work were in the Northwest part of the state.

He says the projected completion time was five years, and he’s pleased they were able to finish the 802 bridges almost two years early. Warbritton says bridges were closed an average of only 42 days.

Of the 802 bridges identified as unsafe, 554 of them have been completely replaced.

Warbritton says the state’s bridges undergo rigorous inspections, and if inspection crews find critical problems, they close them to traffic immediately.

AUDIO: Jessica Machetta reports (1:10)