MoDOT estimates ice storm costs at $1.5 million; road work projects get underway Wednesday

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Despite the effects of the ice storms, Missouri Department of Transportation projects are moving along.

"It impacts our work schedule later in the year," said Mike Helpingstine, MoDOT's southeast district maintenance engineer. That's when a budget crunch may limit projects.

Though figures aren't final, Helpingstine said the storm cost the state approximately $1.5 million in overtime, salt and cinders.

The formula followed to make such estimates, he said, is a half-million dollars for each inch of snow that falls. The estimate is based on snow in some, not all, Southeast Missouri counties.

"If it blankets the entire district with an inch of snow, it [costs more]," he said.

Like every other transportation agency in the area, MoDOT crews are faced with collecting lots of debris. He said the state agency cannot help city or county crews unless the governor declares a disaster.

MoDOT crews had their hands full keeping state roads cleared, he said.

"We had one road in Butler County, Route PP, we had to close it," he said. "We had crews out there, cutting the trees and clearing the road. As the crew was advancing on the road, more trees were falling behind them. It was probably worst ice storm I've ever seen, and I've been here since 1989."

Here are the latest MoDOT projects -- weather permitting:

***Highway 91, Scott County

Expect to encounter a lane reduction on westbound Highway 91, starting 8 a.m. Wednesday. Routine bridge maintenance will be underway daily through 3 p.m. Friday.

***Highway 77, Scott County

Reduced reduced to one lane, between Highway E and Highway 61 in Benton. MoDOT crews trim trees next to the roadway.

The work is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

***Highway 62, Mississippi County

Guardrails will be replaced on Highway 62, approximately two miles west of Charleston in Mississippi County.

The work is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

***Interstate 57, Mississippi County

Northbound I-57, two miles north of Highway 62, will be reduced to one lane.

Road crews will be making concrete repairs from 8 a.m. Wednesday to 4 p.m. Friday.

***Route 72 bypass kickoff Fredericktown

The ceremony to kick off construction on the Route 72 Fredericktown bypass is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday.

This even is at Ole Times Country Cafe Banquet Room, 160 Commercial Drive, in Fredericktown. Scheduled to speak are Heather Garner for U.S. Representative JoAnn Emerson; Senator Jason Crowell; Shelley Keeney for Missouri Speaker of the House Rod Jetton; Madison County Presiding Commissioner John Rauls; SEMO Regional Planning Director Chauncy Buchheit; P.J. Kronlage, executive vice president of EFK Moen, LLC; and Cheryl Ball, MoDOT Southeast District.

The Hannibal-based Chester Bross Construction is doing the $1,175,538 first phase.

The first phase of the project includes building a roundabout at existing Highway 72, just east of the Highway 67/72 interchange and should be finished by fall. The second phase will create two new bridges, one over Little St. Francois River and one over Village Creek. The third and final phase is new paving. The second and third phases will start late this year and be completed in 2009.

MoDOT is splitting costs for the $7 million project with Madison County.

MoDOT work zones will be marked with signs. Drivers are urged to use extreme caution in these areas. For state road project details, call the MoDOT's customer service center at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636).

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