Missouri state representatives Dale Wright and Rick Francis met with officials from their districts at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City on July 31 to meet with Missouri Department of Transportation director Patrick McKenna to discuss the economic impact of the aging Chester Bridge.

Among those attending were Sandra Cabot, tourism and economic development director for the city of Ste. Genevieve; and Marcus Genova of Holcim (U.S.), Inc.

The discussion included conversation about the effects of flooding on travel for both citizens and companies in the area, particularly companies relying on the bridge for the daily movements of products and personnel.

Representatives from some companies such as TG Missouri, Gilster Mary-Lee and Con Agra also were present for the meeting.

 “This last flooding and closing of the bridge cost an estimated $1.1. million to just those three companies,” Wright said. “The Chester Bridge is one of many bridges throughout Missouri that needs to be replaced to better serve Missouri families, workers and businesses.”

 The Chester Bridge is not slated for replacing until 2026, however. At the meeting, ideas and thoughts were shared as to how to expedite the replacement process.

The preferred plan for replacing the bridge calls for a new bridge constructed approximately 75 feet upstream with upgrades to the approaches that would keep water off Highway 51 in Missouri during flood events.

(Information from a release from the Missouri House of Representatives and background information on the bridge replacement from the Perryville Republic-Monitor.)