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Building next generation interstate highways (OPINION)

Building next generation interstate highways (OPINION)

The Hill
BY JENNIFER COHAN AND PATRICK MCKENNA, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS
12/12/19 01:00 PM EST 

Congress is currently debating reauthorization of federal surface transportation legislation and the stakes could not be higher, or timelier. As we work within our respective states and with our federal partners to address infrastructure maintenance and upgrades across all travel modes, as is clearly required, it must be recognized the nation’s interstate highway system is flashing red. Once the envy of the world, interstates today now suffer rampant congestion while many bridges and pavement across the system are reaching, or well-past, their intended design lives.

To understand the scope of the problem, consider a single bridge in Missouri, among the more than 55,000 interstate bridges coast-to-coast. Built more than 60 years ago to span the Missouri River, the Rocheport Bridge on I-70 supports 12 million cars and trucks annually. It’s vital to both the region’s and nation’s economy—but it will last only another decade before safety dictates it will need to be fully replaced. Yet, building that bridge alone will likely eclipse $200 million. Fortunately for Missouri, this structure and its significance to the national freight network merited a discretionary U.S. Department of Transportation grant and will, in fact, be rebuilt. What is clear, however, is that this is but one of far too many such critical bridges, other structures and pavements whose time is fast expiring, with no cohesive national plan to head off the looming crisis... FULL ARTICLE

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