SIKESTON, Mo. -- The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission awarded a contract Tuesday for the first phase of the Oak Grove Road interchange in Poplar Bluff, Mo. The interchange will provide full access between U.S. 67 and Oak Grove Road. The $5,566,006 contract was awarded to RL Persons Construction Inc., Poplar Bluff. This phase of the interchange project will include constructing the interchange ramps. The second phase will consist of constructing an overpass bridge, which will be adjacent to the existing bridge. The project will be completed as part of an economic development program agreement between the Missouri Department of Transportation and the city of Poplar Bluff. In addition to construction of the interchange, MoDOT's portion of the project will include geometric and traffic signal improvements at the intersection of Oak Grove Road and Westwood Boulevard. The intersection project is expected to be let in September. The city of Poplar Bluff's portion of the project will include adding lanes to Oak Grove Road between U.S. 67 and Westwood Boulevard. Improvements could begin as early as May, with completion in late 2013, weather permitting. Oak Grove Road will be closed this summer, when school is not in session, to minimize inconveniences. For more information, contact project manager Tim Richmond at 573-472-5290, resident engineer Audie Pulliam at 573-840-9781, transportation project designer Jeff Wachter at 573-472-5294 or MoDOT's Customer Service Center at 888-275-6636.