Columbia authorizes bridge improvements

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COLUMBIA- After more than fifty years of wear and tear, three bridges along I-70 in Columbia will soon be seeing some improvements. 

The Columbia City Council authorized an agreement at its meeting Monday night with the Missouri Highways and Traffic Commission, or MHTC, to allow for changes to be made on the bridges over Rangeline Street, Garth Avenue and Business Loop 70 West along the interstate. 

Columbia Public Works Director John Glascock said the bridges no longer meet today's safety standards. 

"It was built to the day in the 50's," Glascock said. "Right now, our safety standards are a little different. So, they will be looking at those and updating those standards."

Now, the Missouri Department of Transportation, or MoDOT, will start pursuing the construction and design stages of the project. 

MoDOT officials want both a design and a construction company to work together in teams to move the process along more effectively. 

"These teams will get together and bid on the project and then they're selected once the scope is set up," Glascock said. 

As of January, five teams had requested to make plans to send to MoDOT by late spring. 

MoDOT then plans to award the contract to the team it feels provides the best plan sometime this summer. 

It will choose a plan that best delivers the project within its $18 million budget, provides long term service that will allow for future expansions, delivers a strong traffic management plan, among other qualifications. 

The MHTC expects construction to be complete by the fall of 2016.