Missouri DOT Progresses With I-70 Rocheport Bridge Replacement Project

Rocheport Bridge
Traffic at the Rocheport Bridge on I-70 over the Missouri River. (Missouri Department of Transportation)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

The Missouri Department of Transportation is advancing work on a $240 million project to replace the Rocheport Bridge, a vital freight link that carries 3.6 million trucks per year.

The Rocheport Bridge takes Interstate 70 over the Missouri River and is located in the central part of the state, about 13 miles west of Columbia.

Spanning from Utah to Maryland, I-70 is a major east-west corridor that runs through St. Louis and Kansas City.

MoDOT officials kicked off the design-build procurement process the last week of January, holding a virtual open house for members of the public and a virtual industry meeting. Design-build teams, including at least one design firm and one contractor, will submit statements of qualifications to the agency in February. In March, MoDOT will shortlist between two and five teams and release a request for proposals to these teams.

The project is supported by a federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant for $81.2 million that was issued in 2019.



Brandi Baldwin, the MoDOT project director responsible for delivering the I-70 Rocheport Bridge, said the project will benefit Missouri and the nation as a whole because of the structure’s importance to freight movement.

“Replacing Rocheport Bridge is Missouri’s top surface transportation priority because of the substantial economic contribution it provides within the state and national freight network,” Baldwin told Transport Topics.

MoDOT estimates that, within any given 48-hour period, trucks carrying goods to the 48 contiguous states will have to cross the Rocheport Bridge. As a corridor, Baldwin said I-70 in Missouri carries approximately 100 million tons of freight annually. About 30% of this tonnage represents through traffic moving through Missouri and bound for other destinations.

The new Rocheport Bridge will replace a 60-year-old truss structure that is near the end of its service life. Spanning 3,000 feet as its predecessor did, the new bridge will pass over the Missouri River, its flood plain, the Katy Trail and the Overton Bottoms Conservation Area.

According to MoDOT, the existing bridge is in poor condition, which could result in weight restrictions in the coming years if no action is taken. Rehabilitation work would have extended the life of the bridge for only about 10 years and could have caused traffic backups ranging between three and eight hours along I-70.


“A new bridge would prevent the enormous traffic congestion that would otherwise be created if the existing bridge were to just be repaired,” Baldwin said.

The replacement will require local, state and federal agencies as well as lawmakers to work together to make sure construction does not hurt businesses that need to transport products or communities that rely on the bridge to get to school and work.

Over the coming weeks, MoDOT officials will meet individually with the design-build teams to discuss the technical aspects of their proposals. The proposals from the teams are due in June. MoDOT plans to select the best value proposal at the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission’s meeting in July.

The project completion date is slated for December 2024.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info: