JEFFERSON CITY – Closing the westbound Route 54/63 bridge over the Missouri River in Jefferson City and switching westbound traffic to the eastbound bridge will begin the evening of April 15, with the total closure of the westbound structure occurring before rush hour on Monday, April 18. Drivers will encounter lane closures on both bridges throughout the weekend as the contractor prepares for the full closure.
The bridge will be closed for painting and repairs for about four months and is tentatively scheduled to reopen on Aug. 12.
Westbound bridge traffic will be diverted to the eastbound bridge, which will be restriped to carry two lanes of eastbound and two lanes of westbound traffic. Speed limits will be reduced on and near the bridge.
“Getting everything in order to close the bridge will take a couple of days,” said Patty Lemongelli, construction and materials engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Central District. “We have to remove stripes and put down new ones, install concrete barriers and perform other work to switch traffic from one bridge to the other, so the closure won’t happen overnight.”
In addition to the bridge closure, the following access ramps will be closed:
- All access ramps from Route 54/63 to and from West Main Street;
- The eastbound on-ramp from McCarty St. to Route 54/63; and
- The westbound on-ramp from Route W to Route 54/63.
Maps showing the closures can be found on MoDOT’s website at www.modot.org/central.
MoDOT is expecting traffic to back up during morning and evening commutes, so the department is asking motorists to alter their travel schedules to avoid peak travel times, if possible. That could mean altering work hours or working from another location. Carpooling would also help ease traffic congestion.
“We know that some people won’t be able to change their travel routines, and we understand that,” Lemongelli said. “We’re committed to doing all we can to ensure smooth travels, and we ask motorists to do their part, too, by allowing extra travel time, being patient, driving in a courteous manner and staying calm behind the wheel.”
Lemongelli said she expects the first few days the bridge is closed to be the most difficult while drivers get used to the traffic changes and figure out the drive times and routes that work best for them. Barring any accidents or stalled vehicles, however, traffic should move across the eastbound bridge at a steady pace. Still, traffic speeds will be slower than usual so motorists are asked to be patient and allow extra time for their commutes, especially during the morning and evening rush periods.
MoDOT has been working with local law enforcement on an incident management plan to ensure smooth traffic flow on both state routes and city streets during the closure.
The westbound bridge, built in 1955, carries about 28,000 vehicles a day.
More information, including the option to sign up for e-mail updates, is available at www.modot.org/central or by calling 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636).