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Construction on highways 72, 34 to pause for holiday

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Construction on two projects on highways 72 and 34 west of Jackson will pause this Memorial Day weekend, according to Darius Dowdy, the resident engineer for MoDOT at the Jackson project office. The two projects are projected to be completed on schedule.

On Highway 34/72 between County Road 335 and the divergence of the two highways, also known as Starlight Junction, construction is underway to widen the road from two lanes to four, install an eight-inch concrete median and replace the Crane Creek Bridge.

Dowdy said the intersection of County Road 328, Old Toll Road and Highway 34/72 will have to be closed at some point, but residents will still have access to the closed-off section of Old Toll Road through its intersection with County Road 335. However, access to all other side streets along the construction zone will not be restricted. At least one lane will always be open into the subdivisions.

"The intent is to have access at all times to those side streets," he said. "If we close a road down, it'll be well advertised in public meetings."

The contract date for completion of the project is December.

"I don't foresee it getting done early," Dowdy said.

On Highway 72 between Starlight Junction and Highway 51 near Patton, Mo., construction has been underway since early spring to improve the safety of the road. Paved shoulders will replace dirt shoulders and the slope of curves will be elevated to meet new standards.

Dowdy said construction will be intermittent along the 19 miles of Highway 72 between Patton and the junction until the project is completed.

The project has a contract date for completion of July 2009, but he expects the project will be completed before then.

For both of these projects, Dowdy said completion dates depend on the weather. When the interchange of Interstate 55 and East Main Street in Jackson was under construction, the construction crews did not have rain for three months, which allowed the project to be completed more easily.

"They got in and got out very quickly," he said. "It was pretty amazing."

tthomas@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 197

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