Sen. Mike Bernskoetter’s Legislative Column for Aug. 13, 2020

Bridging the Past and Present

Anniversaries, as every married individual should know, are important. They commemorate significant milestones in people’s lives. They are a time of celebration, but also reflection. They remind us of how far we’ve come, but they also challenge us to think about where we’re going. As we celebrated the anniversary of Missouri’s statehood this past week, many in our community are doing just that.

On Aug. 10, we celebrated our state’s 199th birthday. It was on that date in 1821 that Missouri became the 24th state to enter the Union. Now, we’ve seen our share of challenges over the past 199 years, from war, to powerful floods, to a tornado that ripped through our community, as well as the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19. However, through it all, we’ve stayed strong and committed to moving forward. In that same vein, as Aug. 10 marks the start of another year of Missouri history, it also marks the beginning of a project celebrating our state’s upcoming bicentennial.

Not far from the Capitol, the Jefferson City mayor, the governor, the lieutenant governor and several others broke ground on the Bicentennial Bridge, a project that has been nearly 50 years in the making. The bridge will provide a pedestrian and bike path to Adrian’s Island, which consists of 30 acres of forested parklands near the Missouri River. The bridge will stretch an impressive 765 feet and reach out over the Union Pacific railroad tracks below. The walkway to Adrian’s Island will be illuminated, and along the way, Missourians will get the opportunity to learn about Missouri’s rich history through an interactive exhibit, highlighted by several famous Missourians. With strong leadership and generous local support, this bridge project hopes to be ready in time for the state’s bicentennial on Aug. 10, 2021.

This project promises to provide access to a new riverfront park and expand tourism opportunities at the State Capitol, which will be great for our community. Additionally, the bridge will help restore the historic connection between Missourians and the Missouri River. The longest river in North America, the Missouri River has played a key role in trade, exploration and transportation in Missouri. Given our state’s upcoming bicentennial, I believe this project will help connect a new generation of Missourians to a river that has played such a key role in the growth of our great state.

As our community continues to grow and expand, another project I’m looking forward to is the completion of the port project here in Jefferson City. Similar to the Bicentennial Bridge, this project will provide another unique opportunity for our community. By once again utilizing the Missouri River, I believe the port project has the potential to be an economic game-changer for generations to come. These projects are proof that our community continues to grow and expand, but they also display our commitment to Missouri’s history. As long as we keep up the good work, I’m confident our state and our Capital City will remain strong for the next 200 years.

Please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at