Bridge program on hold until legal issues resolved

Bridge program on hold until legal issues resolved
By: Ryan Tate
CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, Mo. - Missouri Department of Transportation leaders decided not to award a contract to fix the more than 800 bridges in Missouri that need repairs.
Leaders felt it would be better to clarify the program, so it could pass any legal challenges.
It's called the "Safe and Sound Bridge" program.  It calls for the state to award the contract to one contractor to repair the bridges in five years. After that, the contractor will be forced to maintain the bridges for 25 years.
"This is an innovative program.  People around the country are keeping an eye on us to see how it works," said Mark Shelton, a MoDOT District Engineer.
In order to make sure it stands up legally, MoDOT leaders decided not to award the contract in July to work out the program. Instead, Shelton said the contract will be awarded in this fall.
Eighty of the 800 bridges are located in District 10, which makes up most of Southeast Missouri.
The two contractors vying for the contract are from South Carolina and Texas.  Shelton expects the contract to be worth $400 to 600 million.
The contract forces the contractor to finish rehabilitating the bridges in five years, and the state will not pay for the services until all of the work is done.