COLUMBIA - Construction of the $18 million design-build project to replace the Interstate 70 bridges at Business Loop 70, Garth Avenue and Rangeline Street is now officially underway.
The contractor on the state highway project, Emery Sapp and Sons, along with partner Parsons Transportation Group, broke ground on the north side of Interstate 70 at Rangeline Street today.
"We're pleased to get underway with this important project to replace these aging bridges that run over Interstate 70," said Travis Koestner, assistant district engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation's Central District. "The bridges are safe for travel, but they are in poor condition and carry a lot of traffic and need to be replaced."
An average of 80,000 vehicles a day cross the I-70 bridges at these three locations. The structures date back to 1957.
The project also includes building new roundabouts on the north and south sides of I-70 at the Business Loop 70/West Boulevard interchange and at Rangeline. To speed up the work, several of the new bridges will be built next to the existing structures and slid into place. The project is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 1, 2016.
Koestner said the most important thing for people to know about the project is to avoid the stretch of I-70 under construction as much as possible for the next year.
"Drivers need to plan alternate routes around the work," Koestner said. "We know this will be an inconvenience, but in the end they'll enjoy a better and safer ride over these I-70 bridges. The more we can keep local traffic off of I-70, the safer and faster the work will proceed."
Initial work includes clearing and earth work for the westbound I-70 bridge at Rangeline, as well as installing safety traffic barriers along I-70 at the Rangeline and Garth intersections. The barrier work will require the westbound I-70 driving lane to be closed from 9 p.m. on Aug. 26 to 5 a.m. on Aug. 27 and again from 9 p.m. on Aug. 27 to 5 a.m. on Aug. 28. In addition, one northbound and one southbound lane of Rangeline will be closed from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Aug. 26 and 27 to reconfigure the current traffic lanes under I-70. These lanes will be reduced to 10 feet to allow for the construction of the new bridges over Rangeline.
Due to construction, the sidewalks along Rangeline Street between I-70 and Vandiver Drive will be closed for several months beginning today. Pedestrians and bicyclists are advised to detour around the closed sidewalks by taking Business Loop 70 to Providence Road to Vandiver Drive. They can also use Columbia's public transit system, COMO Connect, to travel through the area. Maps showing the pedestrian detour route and the COMO Black Connector Route can be found online at www.modot.org/ColumbiaBridges.
Other lane closures will occur at Rangeline, Garth Avenue, Creasy Springs, the South I-70 Outer Road and the intersection of West Boulevard and Business Loop 70 throughout the project. Many of these closures will happen at night and will not affect daytime commutes.
While road closures have been designed to keep traffic disruptions to a minimum, there still will be times when drivers will have to detour around the work. Koestner said MoDOT and Sapp will provide ample notice of any lane closures so drivers will be prepared.
For more information and to sign up to receive weekly e-mail updates on the project, visit www.modot.org/ColumbiaBridges.
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