MoDOT seeking Chester Bridge comments
In one of the final steps toward completing the environmental study needed before moving forward with replacing the Chester bridge, the Missouri Department of Transportation has opened a public comment period for people to submit statements and questions about the project.
The study began in 2017 when MoDOT began evaluating the need for a new bridge.
During late 2017 and 2018, the study group held a number of meetings with local officials and the public to identify the best alternative for constructing a new bridge.
Ultimately, it was decided that the bridge would be built about 75 feet upstream from the existing bridge, running right alongside the current structure. This alternative was the most economically sound while having a minimal impact on the surrounding businesses and landmarks.
While MoDOT has stated that the bridge is safe, it considers it to be in poor condition and too narrow for modern vehicles. Many local residents have echoed these concerns for years.
The Chester bridge has also proven to be prone to flooding over the past few years and was closed in 2017 and 2019.
However, construction is likely several years away.
In 2020, it was announced that the project likely wouldn’t begin until 2026 at the earliest.
According to MoDOT engineer Brian Okenfuss, the 2026 time estimate remains accurate.
Funding for the estimated $191 million project has not been identified, although the cost will be shared between the two states.
MoDOT officials said in 2020 that Missouri would likely pay more on the Chester bridge project, as there is a more extensive bridge approach through the Horse Island Chute bridge.
The cost estimate is likely to change, as engineers have yet to identify a bridge type or design.
Illinois officials have also prioritized the bridge at Quincy as the next to be replaced, after the two states finish work on the Chain of Rocks Bridge on I-270 in St. Louis.
May 16 is the deadline to submit comments to chesterbridgestudy.com or mailed to Jason Williams, Missouri Department of Transportation, 2675 North Main Street, Sikeston, MO 63801.