“Completed as promised.” That’s what Gov. Mike Parson is saying as work on the final bridge under the Focus on Bridges program is over.

Under the program, the state replaced or repaired 250 bridges across Missouri that were in poor condition. At a ribbon cutting ceremony in Independence today, Parson said there’s more work to do but that they’ve made “a real difference and created a lasting model” for future road and bridge improvements.

The final project was the replacement of the Blue Ridge Boulevard viaduct over I-70 in Independence, which will reopen to traffic on Friday.

“Infrastructure has been a top priority since day one, and four years ago, we set out to replace 250 of our poorest bridges through the Focus on Bridges program,” Governor Parson said. “Today, we are proud to celebrate the 250th bridge completed as promised. From St. Louis to Springfield, from the Bootheel to the great Northwest, this program benefited Missourians everywhere. Focus on Bridges is a bold, one-of-a-kind program that leveraged general revenue to make far reaching improvements to our infrastructure for the first time in generations.”

The program was made possible through $50 million in state funding as well as $301 million in bond revenue approved by the Missouri Legislature in 2019.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 10,424 bridges across the state, the sixth most in the nation. On average, these bridges are about 49 years old, and most of them were designed to last 50 years.

A news release from the governor’s office says prior to Parson’s focus on infrastructure, the number of bridges rated as “poor” using Federal Highway Administration criteria, were increasing year over year rather than declining as now seen in Missouri.

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