With a new year the Missouri Department of Transportation is bracing for even more number crunching and resource stretching after an already large reduction in funding. Click to hear KMZU’s Mike Stone speak with Assistant District Engineer for MoDOT’s Northeast District, Kevin James.

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Assistant District Engineer Kevin James, talks about the most troublesome of the MoDOT funding issues, bridges.

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“Right now we have about 1,400 bridges across the state that are load posted ,out of our more than 10,000 bridges, so, it is a pretty big percentage,” he said.

“The election in August for Constitutional Amendment 7, there was a project list that went along with that vote. There were a lot of projects on that list that were replacing one lane bridges, poor condition bridges. As well as resurfacing several roads, adding shoulders and safety improvements.”

That tax Amendment was defeated by voter’s in August.

A recent MoDOT study on using tolls to fund I-70’s expansion, full overhaul and future upkeep, indicates that would possibly free up some roadway funding. Kevin James points out increased funding is desperately needed for the entire state transportation system.

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“With our 7th largest highway system of the 50 States, and 46th in funding, we are estimating it takes about $485,000,000 to adequately maintain our system. And out in the future, we will be at a level (of funding) that’s about $325,000,000,” He explained.

“We have closed some bridges from our inspections. That is very restrictive to agricultural vehicles, even some school buses.”

Rural and farming communities are most vulnerable to bridge weight restrictions and closures.

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“If you post a bridge on the corridor, with a restriction posting, you know, you’re in effect posting the entire corridor for the thru traffic. One bridge that could be closed or posted really, can make a bottle neck and make a big problem for people to drive around,” James explained.

“The other thing that we’re really seeing an issue with is bridges that are posted, is just getting the compliance with the postings. Because more people that do not comply with the posting will increase the deterioration of the bridge.”

One thing is certain, increased funding will have to come from somewhere, either in sales or fuel taxes, or more tolls on major roadways.

For the latest changes to bridge weight limits and closures in your district visit the MoDOT website.

You can find the MoDOT report on tolling I-70 here.