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Bridge work means summer of detours for some Cape Girardeau County residents
Cape Girardeau County residents living near Burfordville will have a summer of road detours ahead of them as MoDOT replaces three area bridges on Highway 34 as part of its Safe and Sound bridge improvement program.
Program field engineer Andy Meyer told county commissioners Monday that bridges crossing Whitewater River, Whitewater Overflow and Byrd Creek are scheduled to be replaced starting May 15, prompting about three months of road closures along the highway.
He said traffic will be detoured along routes OO, Z and K, tripling the amount of traffic on these roads. While the detour route features single-lane bridges and smaller county roads, he said MoDOT has prepared the route to accommodate the increased travel.
"It's going to triple traffic on these roads," he said. "It's not the most desirable option, but it's what's available."
Replacing these three bridges at the same time is also another good option for MoDOT, Meyer said, even though it's not ideal.
"We're paying a premium, but it's the best way to do it," he said. "It's inconvenient, but it's the fastest scenario."
Meyer said road closures lasted an average of 34 days in 2010, and crews are expected to replace the three Highway 34 bridges in 100 days.
"I'm confident it'll be done on time," Meyer said.
He said MoDOT has talked with property owners in the area and while no one is looking forward to three months of detours and increased travel time, residents seem to understand the need for new bridges.
"We've talked to lots of neighbors," he said. "They think we're going in the right direction."
Meyer told Cape Girardeau County highway administrator Scott Bechtold and Commissioner Paul Koeper that MoDOT is prepared to provide additional signage and striping at areas the county feels motorists will need extra direction.
He said MoDOT wants to work closely with local officials and agencies to ensure safe, minimally disruptive bridge projects.
Meyer said eight bridges will be replaced in Cape Girardeau County throughout the spring and summer. Other bridges to be replaced this summer are Route V at Indian Creek, Route EE at the LRDD Ditch No. 1, Route U at Allen Creek, Route A at Beam Creek and U.S. 61 at Ramsey Creek.
In the past two years, MoDOT has replaced or rehabilitated bridges on Highway 177 and U.S. 61 as part of the program, completing Cape Girardeau County's program total of 10 new or repaired bridges by the end of 2011.
Meyer said MoDOT was active in Stoddard and Scott counties last year. Stoddard County, which ranks third in the state of amount of bridges replaced or rehabilitated under the program, will receive 23 bridge projects by the program's competition in 2013. Scott County is scheduled to receive 13 bridge projects.
MoDOT will host an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 3 to meet with the public and inform them of the process as it pertains to each bridge project in Cape Girardeau County. While MoDOT officials will be available to answer questions, there will not be a formal presentation.
More information about specific bridge projects and road closures is available at www.modot.org/southeast/safeandsound.htm, or by calling 888-275-6638.
1 Barton Square, Jackson, MO