JEFFERSON CITY – A highway construction project that will have a major impact on Interstate 70 traffic later this summer will begin prep work next week. Work to repair the eastbound and westbound Interstate 70 bridges over the Lamine River west of Boonville will begin Tuesday, May 31.
Motorists will encounter nightly lane closures on and near the bridge from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. until early July. One lane of I-70 in each direction will be open at all times. Contractors will be working under the bridge and will be building crossovers for use later this summer when the work will require full bridge closures.
The full closures will eventually reduce I-70 traffic to one lane in each direction around the clock. However, the work requiring full bridge closures and head-to-head traffic on I-70 will not start until after the Fourth of July and will be completed before Labor Day. The entire project is scheduled for completion in November.
For more information about this project and to sign up to receive periodic email updates, visit http://www.MoDot.org/Central/I70LamineBridge.htm.
Each of the 50-year-old bridges carries about 27,000 vehicles per day. When the full closures occur, the Missouri Department of Transportation expects backups and traffic delays during peak travel times, which are typically Thursday, Friday and Sunday afternoons.
“We know this work will be an inconvenience, but maintaining the bridges will provide 20 or more years of additional service, as well as a smoother ride for travelers,” said Missouri Department of Transportation Central District Engineer David Silvester. “It’s important that we preserve the investments we’ve made in these bridges.”
MoDOT is also hoping the project will help motorists embrace the zipper merge, a newer concept in driving through heavily congested work zones. When traffic is slowed or stopped, the zipper merge encourages motorists to use both lanes of traffic until they reach the point where the lane is closed, then take turns with other drivers to safely and smoothly ease into the remaining lane.
When motorists use both lanes of traffic until reaching the defined merge area and then alternate in "zipper" fashion into the open lane, the overall length of the traffic backup is reduced by 40-50 percent.
More information about the zipper merge can be found at http://www.modot.org/workzones/ZipperMerge.htm.