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New St. Louis Overpasses Can't Handle Oversize Loads

March 23, 2000

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Missouri is replacing 13 overpasses on I-70 in the St. Louis area, but most won't meet state or federal height standards for highway bridges, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Representatives of the trucking industry question the expenditure of $33 million to rebuild overpasses and not upgrade them to provide enough clearance for an increasing number of oversized loads.
The interstate standard for bridge clearance is 16 feet, and Missouri state standards call for 16-1/2 feet. Yet only five of the new overpasses will be 16 feet high or more. The number of oversized shipments is on the rise, and I-70 is considered a major commercial corridor.
The state says it would cost too much and increase the already lengthy construction period to build the bridges any taller. The Federal Highway Administration enforces the 16-foot standard only on so-called defense routes. This stretch of I-70 is not considered a defense route, so the state won special design variances to build the bridges with slightly lower clearances.

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