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story.lead_photo.caption Photo by Central Missouri Newspapers file photo

With help from a federal grant, Fulton plans to replace a Second Street bridge over Stinson Creek within the next two years.

The bridge, located between Bluff and Oak streets, and owned by the City of Fulton was deemed in need of replacement by the Missouri Department of Transportation. Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration announced the Missouri Department of Transportation and Fulton will receive a nearly $1 million grant. Fulton will have to provide a 20 percent match, said Kyle Bruemmer, interim Fulton city engineer.

"It's really exciting for us," Bruemmer said Tuesday.

Other recipients included projects in Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina and the Pawnee Nation in Oklahoma. This round of awards totals $6.5 million. Only one project in each selected state or nation received funding.

"These federal grants will advance innovative transportation solutions to improve safety and mobility on America's roadways," U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao wrote.

AID grants are awarded to projects that "help enhance safety and rebuild infrastructure with cutting-edge innovations that can potentially be replicated nationwide," according to a USDOT press release.

Since 2014, the AID Demonstration Program has provided 110 grants, valued at more than $80 million.

"These grants help state, local and tribal governments deliver projects sooner and more cost-effectively for the traveling public," Federal Highway Administrator Nicole Nason said.

Fulton's project will make use of prefabricated bridge parts and "Accelerated Bridge Construction" (a catch-all term for a number of methods meant to speed bridge replacement, including advanced pre-planning and more efficient construction methods).

Both innovations are supported by the FHWA and are expected to accelerate the project's schedule, improve work zone safety and reduce traffic impacts.

"Hopefully that will make the project go much quicker, because that's an important street," Bruemmer said.

Bruemmer said the city began pursuing this grant three years ago, shortly after MODOT bridge inspectors noted issues with the bridge.

"The decking's saturated and the headwall is crumbling," Ward 4 City Council member Rick Shiverdecker listed.

Fulton contracted with an engineering firm to evaluate whether the bridge could be salvaged and learned it instead needed total replacement.

"Well shoot, that's going to be a million bucks or more," Bruemmer said.

The city first applied for the grant in partnership with MODOT in 2018 and reapplied in 2019. Bruemmer said he reached out this year to Fulton's state and national congressional representatives, requesting letters of support. The news Fulton received the grant was met with much celebration in the engineering department, he said.

Bruemmer couldn't give a definitive timeline for the project — he hasn't yet received all the documents associated with the grant — but said the city currently plans to design the bridge in 2021 and construct it in 2022. Construction could begin sooner if all goes smoothly, he said.

This article was edited at 11:40 a.m. Oct. 29, 2020, to correct the location of the bridge to be replaced.

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