The old Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana is less than a year-and-a-half away from fading into history.

At a meeting of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission in Bowling Green Thursday, a design/build contract was awarded to Massman Construction of Kansas City to build a new bridge to take Highway 54 across the Mississippi River at Louisiana.

The new span will feature two twelve foot wide driving lanes, with two ten foot shoulders, making it about twice as wide as the nearly 90 year old bridge it is replacing.

According to Massman Project Manager T.J. Columbatto, the design work for the new bridge has already begun.

Along with the new bridge, the project also includes improvements to the intersection of Highways 54 and 79 in Louisiana, and raising the road bed on the Illinois side to eliminate the problem of high water closing the bridge.

The new bridge will cost $62.5 million dollars, and is expected to be completed by the fall of 2019.