Editorial

Bridge work

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Motorists across Missouri may need to adjust their driving habits in the months to come as this year's construction season kicks off. The Missouri Department of Transportation, looking for ways to save time and money, has contracted for the replacement of 554 bridges over four years. In most cases, except on major highways, traffic will be detoured to other routes for up to six weeks. On the list of projects is replacement of three bridges on Highway 34 along a mile-and-a-half stretch near Burfordville, and MoDOT estimates that highway will be closed for up to 100 days.

The thinking is that closing highways while replacing bridges -- many of them one-lane spans that will become two-lane bridges -- is more efficient from a construction standpoint, reducing the time involved and the total cost. The state is spending nearly half a billion dollars on bridge replacements and wants to get the most out of every dollar spent.

As anyone whose driving routine involves bridges knows, closing a bridge can mean significant and often inconvenient detours. The trade-off is more bridges will be replaced, and the detours won't last as long as usual construction disruptions.

To keep track of bridge projects, go to www.modot.mo.gov/safeandsound.

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