For nearly a week in late March, traffic on Interstate 70 was backed up for as much as 7 miles as Missouri Department of Transportation crews conducted emergency repairs on an expansion joint for a 56-year-old bridge near Rocheport in central Missouri.

The bridge needs to be replaced, MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said, and the state agency estimates a replacement would cost $150 million in today’s dollar. That number could balloon to $220 million in 10 years, he said. Rehabbing the bridge would…