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      Options unveiled for bridge at Louisiana, Mo.

      The future of a troubled bridge rested in the hands of the people Thursday evening.

      The public had a chance to view possibilities for a new bridge crossing the Mississippi River at Louisiana, Missouri.

      The Missouri Department of Transportation displayed eight options Thursday night surrounding the future of the Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana . Those options range from doing nothing with the 85-year-old bridge to building a replacement structure.

      "We're just gathering information from the public," MoDOT Project Manager Keith Killen said. "So far, we've heard people would like to have the bridge remain open during construction so there's no closure time. Generally, they want to see the bridge back in Louisiana not far away."

      The easiest options for the new bridge would be to build 50 feet north or 50 feet south of the existing structure. Either route would allow the existing bridge to remain open during construction. Those options also would have the least impact on homes and businesses.

      "I think that the projections they have are beautiful," Louisiana resident Kathy Smith said. "I really like them. The only thing is I wish they were going more towards a 4-lane, but if we get a wider 2-lane bridge and it's in the same area, it's going to be perfect."

      Smith also would like to see the bridge higher than it is now on the Illinois side to prevent flooding closures. Right now, there is no dedicated funding for a new bridge, but Killen says Missouri and Illinois would split the cost.

      "After we gather all this input, we'll look at what the public has said and then we'll narrow our options to some preferred alternatives," he said. "We'll study those further in depth and then we'll give a report on what those are, which ones are the best, which one had the least environmental impact, best value for the money, then we'll move forward."

      You can weigh in on the future of the Mississippi River bridge at Louisiana by logging onto MoDOT's Web site .