The Evolution of the Daniel Boone Bridge

By on December 19, 2016

From Burns & McDonnell:  St. Louis’ iconic bridge welcomed four new traffic lanes — thanks to a timely and efficient design-build approach — as well as improvements to an existing portion to accommodate pressures from significant population growth. Today, the new and improved Daniel Boone Bridge is open and accommodating more drivers than ever.


In 1937, the new two-lane Daniel Boone Bridge over the Missouri River was more than enough to serve travelers coming to and from St. Charles and St. Louis counties. Since then, the once-rural area west of St. Louis has become one of the fastest-growing in the nation; even the 1981 addition of a second bridge couldn’t keep pace.


The first two times that a bridge was built across the Missouri River into St. Charles County, design and construction were done the old-fashioned way: Each contract was bid separately. When explosive regional growth created demand for an improved Missouri River crossing in the early 2010s, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) wanted to think outside the traditional design and construction box.

“Our challenge, working closely with the joint venture contracting team Walsh/Alberici, was to come up with innovative ideas, such as rehabilitating the existing bridge that remained in place, raising a nearby overpass bridge two feet to provide better clearance over the interstate, and adding additional lanes beyond the project footprint, which proved to be important to the owner in the final selection,” says Kevin Eisenbeis, a department manager in the Transportation Group at Burns & McDonnell. “Once underway, accomplishing all the design work and plan delivery in an extremely compressed schedule took incredible effort by our Kansas City and St. Louis design teams.”


Hoping to speed construction and maximize the value of its investment, the agency chose a design-build approach this time around, encouraging bidders to suggest ways to enhance the project while working within the budget.

With experience in designing more Missouri River bridges than any other consultant, Burns & McDonnell had some ideas. After teaming with Walsh/Alberici, Burns & McDonnell put its engineering experience to work on a winning design-build proposal that offered to do more in less time than MoDOT anticipated.

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