More than 800 bridges in Missouri, including two between Houston and Licking, have been marked with this sign and will be improved or repaired in the next five years. AUDIO: Robert Brendel of MoDOT discusses the Safe & Sound program.

Two bridges between Houston and Licking on U.S. 63 have been designated for repair or replacement under the Missouri Department of Transportation’s “Safe & Sound” program.

The bridges over Bender and Arthur’s Creek are two of the more than 800 that are considered the state’s worst bridges. They will be marked with “Safe & Sound” logo signs and will be improved over the next five years .

In September, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission directed MoDOT to launch the “Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program” with at least 100 bridges under construction early in 2009. Contracts on six of those bridges – five in the St. Louis area and one near Kansas City – were awarded by the commission earlier this month, and bids on more than 40 more will be taken before the end of the year.

Signs that have been posted feature the Safe & Sound logo and indicate that they are in need of attention, and will either be repaired or replaced by Oct. 31, 2014.

MoDOT district offices have begun holding community briefings to prepare the public for what they can expect as work gets under way next year.

“When drivers see these signs, they should begin thinking about the probability that they will be closed during construction and plan accordingly,” said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. “Closing these bridges lets the contractor complete the work quickly and get the bridges back open faster. It also keeps our costs down.”

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