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Building a bridge in the Big Muddy

Presentation by Dennis Heckman, Mo. Dept. of Transportation
Dennis Heckman, State Bridge Engineer with the Mo. Dept. of Transportation, will share the difficulties and engineering tricks for building a bridge over the powerful and unpredictable Missouri River.

Boone Bridge

Construction of the I-64 Boone Bridge in Chesterfield, MO. The bridge is due to be completed in mid-2015. photo courtesy of MoDOT.

Time and Place

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
7:00 pm

Les Bourgeois Vineyards Bistro
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Presentation by Dennis Heckman, State Bridge Engineer with Mo. Dept. of Transportion

Tuesday, January 13, 2014

If you intend on coming early to purchase an amazing dinner at Les Bourgeois Bistro before the presentation, PLEASE call to make a reservation at: 573-698-2300 and…tell them you are with the Big Muddy Speaker Series!

Presentation is FREE and open to the public!

Most people’s only experience with the Missouri River is crossing it on a bridge. There are 30 highway and railroad bridges that cross the Missouri River within the state of Missouri alone. Their importance to the daily lives of Missouri citizens was made crystal clear in 1993, when only one bridge crossing between St. Charles and Kansas City remained open (the I-70 bridge just downstream of Les Bourgeois) and the Glasgow railroad bridge collapsed.

Dennis Heckman, State Bridge Engineer with the Mo. Dept. of Transportation, will share the difficulties and engineering tricks for building a bridge over such a powerful and unpredictable river. He’ll discuss bridges across the state, but especially focus on the latest interstate bridge being expanded: the I-64 Boone Bridge in Chesterfield. The construction of this bridge has had its share of typical impacts from the river, including high water events that broke loose a crane barge, which then collided with the existing bridge, and other high water events that washed away tender boats and temporarily shut down construction.

How do you build a bridge piling (or bent) in the middle of a flowing river? How long are bridges expected to last? What does flooding do to a bridge? Find out this stuff and more!


  • 14020 W. Hwy BB, Rocheport, MO
  • Take I-70 to the Rocheport, MO, exit (Exit #115). It’s the first exit east of the Missouri River.
  • Head north toward Rocheport.
  • After about a mile, turn left at the sign for Les Bourgeois Bistro. Follow the signs to the Bistro. You will probably need to park in the lot above the Bistro and walk the trail down.
  • The presentations are held in upstairs in the restaurant. The restaurant is no longer open on Tuesdays but the bar is! You are welcome to bring your own food or snacks.

Resources and Links

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The Big Muddy Speaker Series in Rocheport

is hosted by these wonderful partners.

Click here for a list of upcoming presentations»

Special thanks to Les Bourgeois Vineyards for giving us the opportunity to use their beautiful space overlooking the Missouri River. All speakers are presenting for free! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us!

The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place monthly in Kansas City and St. Charles.

The Big Muddy Speaker Series is partially funded by the Columbia Ecological Services Field Office (USFWS) and the Mo. Dept. of Conservation.