The state government of Missouri, US, is set to receive $81.2m Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the US Department of Transportation(DoT) to build a new I-70 Missouri River Bridge at Rocheport.

The financing will support the $240m project that will replace the existing four-lane I-70 bridge with a six-lane structure which will be built to the south of the current location.

Upon completion, the project will enable travellers to avoid months of lengthy traffic delays.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson said: “The Rocheport bridge has long been in need of repair, and we’re thrilled that we now have the funds to complete this critical project and trigger our bold transportation plan.

“Transportation drives our economy, and replacing the bridge is a major step toward maintaining our highway system and ensuring we have the framework for access and expansion in the future.”

The federal grant will also enable the reconstruction of the Route BB interchange just east of the bridge, which was constructed in 1960.

Furthermore, the financing will be used to construct climbing lanes on I-70 at Mineola Hill in Montgomery County, which will improve safety and traffic flow through the Loutre River valley.

The grant is also expected to trigger $301m in state bonding, authorised by the Missouri General Assembly during the 2019 session, to repair or replace another 215 bridges in the state.

The state government will collaborate with local partners towards the implementation of the project.

MoDOT director Patrick McKenna said: “Senator Blunt, Senator Hawley, Representative Graves, and other members of the Missouri Congressional delegation are to be commended for keeping the project top of mind in the nation’s capital.

“Thanks, too, to leaders in the City of Columbia, the City of Boonville, and Boone and Cooper counties for their commitment of $4.2 million in local funds that when leveraged with state and federal dollars will make a new bridge a reality.”

The grant will enable MoDOT to commence design for the new bridge, with construction likely to begin in 2021.