Missouri Department of Transportation—Champ Clark Bridge

Reliability for commuters was becoming an issue on the Champ Clark Bridge, which spanned the Mississippi River on U.S. Route 54 and connected Louisiana, Mo., and Pike County, Ill. The bridge had been closed for flooding events several times over the last 10 years, forcing commuters and commercial businesses to travel an additional 77 miles to cross the river, and the bridge was often closed for repairs and inspections. Missouri Department of Transportation worked with Illinois Department of Transportation to replace the previously narrow bridge through a $60 project that more than doubles the original bridge’s width and eliminates the 40-ton weight restriction, while adding accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists to increase travel options and economic opportunities in the region. In addition, the project spurred community involvement by including high school students interested in STEM to participate in a challenge to design, estimate, and present proposals for an interpretive panel made of material from the original bridge. The panel, now permanently displayed in a park overlooking the bridge, fulfilled an environmental commitment to memorialize the historic bridge for future generations.