Andy Meyer of the Missouri Department of Transportation dispelled rumors that the Interstate 55 interchange project had been put on hold, announcing that groundbreaking is scheduled to take place Aug. 31.
Meyer, project manager, spoke at a joint planning and zoning meeting held at Jackson City Hall Wednesday night.
Commissioners from both Jackson and Cape Girardeau attended the meeting, which addressed issues surrounding development near the new highway exits and corridors soon to connect the cities.
The $8.25 million interchange project will have a completion time of over a year and could continue into 2008 depending on weather delays. Once finished, it will connect soon-to-be-extended East Main Street in Jackson to the proposed LaSalle Avenue, which will connect to County Road 618 to take motorists into Cape Girardeau.
The connection between the two roads will be in a tunnel under I-55.
Meyer says the construction will only moderately affect drivers. Both directions of traffic on I-55 will be reduced to one lane, but MoDOT does not expect delays except for short periods of time when equipment is being loaded or unloaded.
Working in conjunction with the interchange will be the extension of Jackson's East Main Street. Jackson building and planning superintendent Janet Sanders announced the first phase of the extension, which requires grading and seeding the roadbed, is 30 percent complete and will be finished by the end of October. Phase two, which calls for the construction of a boulevard-style street connecting Jackson to the interchange, will be put out to bid in September. It will be completed in 2007, she said.
Sanders also said the city is beginning a transmission line project that will allow Jackson's electrical service to expand.
The $1.5 million project will string additional lines on existing poles. Sanders said the city experienced "brown outs" last summer.
"We are at capacity and we need this line badly," she said. "As you know, we keep having people move in and we keep growing, so we have to grow with them."
335-6611, extension 245