Louisiana Bridge Replacement Discussion
(LOUISIANA)---There are more questions than answers about a replacement for the Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana.
Despite uncertainties, state officials said Wednesday that an environmental study is under way and that a site may be chosen as early as 2014. Still to be answered are questions such as where the Missouri Department of Transportation will find 100 million dollars for the project, when construction could begin and whether the new structure will be two-lane or four-lane.
If construction started immediately, the new bridge likely would be only two lanes since the current one carries just 42 hundred vehicles a day. MODOT says they’ll work hand-in-hand with area leaders who want to upgrade U.S. 54 to four lanes between Mexico Missouri and Pittsfield Illinois. Such an extension would likely require a four-lane bridge.
Public input will be a key part of the project. A task force will be formed and hearings will be held starting this fall.
At 84, the Champ Clark Bridge is one of the oldest and narrowest on the river between Minnesota and Tennessee.
Authorities have said the bridge’s 20-foot width contributed to a fatal accident last December that killed an executive of Louisiana’s Stark Brothers Nurseries. A federal lawsuit has been filed by the victim’s widow.