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Legislation to expedite construction of a replacement Riverside Bridge in Ozark is now in the House for consideration.
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Legislation to expedite construction of a replacement Riverside Bridge in Ozark is now in the House for consideration.

Riverside Bridge bill passes US Senate

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Missouri Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill’s legislation to replace the Riverside Bridge in Ozark passed the U.S. Senate.

Introduced in April by Blunt, R-Mo., and co-sponsored by McCaskill, D-Mo., the bill approved by the Senate on Friday would lift Federal Emergency Management Agency statutory flooding restrictions to allow for construction of a new bridge adjacent to the current one. For five of the last seven years, the bridge has been closed, most recently when flooding took it offline in July 2015, according to a news release.

“Ozark families, small-business owners and emergency responders have all been negatively impacted by the flood-related closures of the Riverside Bridge, and I’m glad that we’re one step closer to a permanent solution,” Blunt said in the release. “Replacing the bridge will provide a reliable travel route across this vital north-south connection over the Finley River.”

The next step is passage by the U.S. House of Representatives, said Katie Boyd, a Blunt spokeswoman. Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo., is the sponsor of the Riverside Bridge companion bill in the House. The House referred the bill to its Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, according to Congress.gov. Boyd was unsure how much it would cost to replace the bridge. A spokeswoman for Long’s office could not be reached for comment by deadline on the timeline of actions in the House.

Funding for the bridge owned by the Ozark Special Road District would come from three sources: the city’s 3/8-cent sales tax approved by voters in April, FEMA and fundraising efforts.

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