Franklin County received word this week that it won’t be receiving a $13.5 million grant to replace the Bend Road bridge, but one county official said he wasn’t surprised.
“I didn’t think there was a chance the project was going to get a dime,” Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer told The Missourian Thursday.
Griesheimer said he was pessimistic about the chances for the Missouri River Highway 47 bridge to get TIGER grant funding as well.
Neither project received any funds from the $500 million pool.
Griesheimer said the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants likely were awarded to areas based in large part on politics.
The state will receive $12 million out of the $500 million pool, but that money will go to projects in Joplin.
“(Helping) Joplin is a good move,” Griesheimer said, “but there were so many needs and not enough means.
“It was a good strategy move. I’m not complaining at all,” he said.
The bridge is over the Meramec River on Bend Road, southwest of Pacific.
County officials estimate replacing the Bend Road bridge would cost roughly $14.5 million, but were offering a $1 million match for the TIGER grant.
MoDOT Area Engineer Judy Wagner said she hasn’t received official word about the TIGER grant awards, but Griesheimer said that doesn’t change plans for the Bend bridge.
“We know there hasn’t been an environmental study done, and that has to be completed no matter what sort of grant we try for in the future,” he said.
“Doing that study will be our next step, and we’ll just have to pursue funding,” Griesheimer said.
He said there are several possible sources, such as the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, and the Off-Systems Bridge Program.
“There are other avenues, but certainly it’s going to take several years,” Griesheimer said.
Commissioner Terry Wilson said previously that the county will need some sort of outside help to fund the project.