Over two months ahead of schedule, the bridge replacement and interchange project located on Missouri Route 19 and Interstate 70 fully opened to traffic on Sept. 18 upon completion of the north …
When the Missouri Department of Transportation announced in 2022 that it was going to replace the Missouri Highway 19 Bridge over Interstate 70 near New Florence, it predicted that the project was going to be finished by May 2024.
Now, the project will likely be finished a few months early.
The bridge replacement and interchange project fully opened to traffic on Sept. 18, over two months ahead of schedule. The $10 million project included two 172 feet-by-212 feet oval roundabouts with an 18-foot truck apron.
“Everything is functioning like it should be,” Missouri Department of Transportation Area Engineer Jeff Niemeyer said. “We still have to finish up some of the island and backfill. I think we have a couple of entrances on the northeast corner we’re working on to finish up.”
Members of Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc. have been working on the project since October 2022. Niemeyer said the project could be officially done by December.
“Emery Sapp did a great job,” Niemeyer said. “We kind of had a mild winter, so we were able to get a good jump on it this last winter. Then, we had a wet spring which delayed it while they were doing dirt work. Then, we had some good weather this fall. We had good weather. The workers were working hard out there and they came out ahead of schedule. I’m happy to have this done before winter.”
Demolition of the old bridge is scheduled for Oct. 22, which is the sixth and final stage of construction. It will force all of I-70 traffic to be rerouted over the ramps. The interstate will be restricted to one lane from 7 p.m.-6 a.m. on the week of Oct. 17.
“We will have to close I-70 and put I-70 traffic up and over the ramps and around the roundabouts and back down the other side during that closure, which will be a 24-hour closure,” Niemeyer said.
The first stage of construction began in October, when construction signs were built about a half of a mile from the interchange. During construction, a newly constructed Clark Drive, located north of the interchange, was built so drivers can get to businesses such as McDonalds and FastLane. A portion of Highway 19 south of the interchange was closed to complete the tie-in work at the south roundabout. Drivers had to go on a 30 mile-per-hour speed limit when they approached the north and south ends of the overpass. Traffic lights were taken out.
Niemeyer said he was thrilled to see the project done in the early part of the fall season.
“I think a lot of people are happy that all of the ramps are back open,” he said. “I know we have several phases of traffic. We had a lot of press releases and a lot of communications. I know there was still some confusion, especially with out of town drivers having to navigate and have to turn around on 19. But for the most part, getting it done as quickly as possible really helped minimize the traffic impact.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here