Missouri to limit truck weights on secondary bridges as funding lags

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 1/15/2015

The Missouri Department of Transportation has announced a plan to limit funding to secondary routes due to a projected shortfall in 2017. For truckers, that means limiting heavier loads on some bridges and the likelihood that MoDOT will close some bridges to heavy trucks altogether.

MoDOT is calling the new plan the 325 System, based on a budget projection of $325 million in the highway and bridge budget in 2017. The agency says it needs $485 million to fully fund primary and secondary routes.

Primary routes, which make up about 20 percent of state-funded roadways, will continue to receive full funding as part of the plan. Secondary, or supplemental, roads will get basic maintenance and “patchwork repairs” only.

Missouri has 8,000 miles of primary routes that connect cities and 26,000 miles of supplemental routes.

MoDOT Director Dave Nichols says the state will not be able to match enough funds in 2017 to receive certain federal grants that provide $4 of funding for every $1 invested.

“We won’t be able to provide the same level of service as we have in the past. This is not a course of action we want to take, but it’s one that insufficient funding forces us to take,” Nichols stated in a press release.

According to Nichols, MoDOT has reduced its staff, facilities and equipment in the past few years to direct more resources to roads and bridges.

Nichols says Missouri is receiving less money nowadays from state and federal fuel taxes due to increased fuel economy for vehicles and other factors. Those taxes have not been increased in 20 years.

A 325 System fact sheet says that secondary routes are likely to become a “patchwork of repairs” until a solution is found.

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