MoDOT holds public meeting on bridge project

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

NEW HAMBURG, Mo. -- The work is still two years away, but the Missouri Department of Transportation wants to make sure it hears from people living in the New Hamburg area about a planned bridge replacement that will have a significant impact on local traffic.

MoDOT will host a public meeting from 3 to 6 p.m. Aug. 8 at St. Lawrence Parish Center to show the public its plans for replacing the Route A bridge over Caney Creek, just north of New Hamburg. Work is expected to start on the project in summer 2009, at which time the bridge will be completely closed to traffic.

MoDOT Project Manager Andy Meyer said the reason for closing the road instead of making a temporary bypass is monetary. The project will cost about $400,000, but adding a bypass would have tacked on another $250,000 to the cost, Meyer said.

"That's a substantial decrease in cost for a couple of months of inconvenience," Meyer said.

MoDOT is planning the work from June to August 2009 to avoid spring planting and the winter wheat harvest in the heavily agricultural area around New Hamburg. Meyer said the agency hopes to have the project completed before school begins to reduce the burden on buses.

About 760 cars travel that stretch of Route A every day, according to MoDOT figures.

Tim Essner of New Hamburg said the closure will have a "big impact," as some people travel over the bridge several times per day.

Essner said he expects a good turnout at the Aug. 8 public meeting.

Some people in the area will have to add a lot of extra miles to their trips in and out of New Hamburg during the work, as the bridge closure will take away a direct route to Highway 61, a key travel artery, for those living just north of the bridge.

Meyer said MoDOT has no plans to put up signs indicating a detour route, as the road is primarily used by locals who will already know of the work ahead of time.

The bridge was first built in 1935 and is only 20 feet wide, currently marked as one lane. MoDOT plans to replace the structure with a new bridge that's 28 feet wide. Currently the bridge is capable of safely carrying traffic, Meyer said, but is too narrow for some agricultural equipment to pass over.

For more information, call MoDOT at (888) 275-6636.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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