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Crews still working to clean up Rocheport bridge debris


Work to remove steel from the Missouri River after the demolition of the old Interstate 70 bridge continued Tuesday -- a full day after the original timeline to clear the debris.

The Missouri Department of Transportation originally estimated that a 300-foot section would be open within 24 hours of the demolition to allow river traffic to flow under the bridge. "We did not make that," said Mike Schupp, an engineer with MoDOT's Central District. "We got about 150 to 200 feet open. We'll have the full 300 feet, most likely by (Wednesday). So, it's going to take us closer to 72 hours."

Schupp said MoDOT has been in constant communication with the Coast Guard and they are currently not having any issues.

The bridge was demolished on Sunday after about an hour delay due to fog. I-70 traffic was halted both eastbound and westbound during the demolition for safety. Traffic was allowed to pass over the new side of the bridge an hour after the demolition, according to Schupp.

Schupp expects that the entire cleanup process will take around two to three weeks. MoDOT says about 6 million pounds of steel dropped into the river when the old bridge was demolished.

The bridge carries 34,000 vehicles and 8,227 commercial vehicles daily, according to MoDOT. It was built in 1960 and refurbished in 1993.

The $220 million project is expected to wrap up in December 2024.

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Avery Roehler


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