JEFFERSON CITY – The project to rehabilitate the bridges that carry Interstate 70 over the Lamine River west of Boonville is nearing completion two weeks ahead of schedule. Traffic will return to two lanes in each direction by 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Work on the eastbound bridge began July 12 and was completed on Aug. 2, at which time work to repair the westbound bridge began. The repair work reduced I-70 traffic to one lane in each direction for six weeks.
The bridges are approximately 50 years old and carry about 27,000 vehicles per day.
“We’re very happy we were able to finish this portion of the project ahead of schedule,” said David Silvester, district engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Central District. “I-70 is the state’s busiest rural corridor, and this project had a big impact on cross-state travel. The contractor on the job, Capital Paving and Construction LLC, really hustled to finish the job early and that means two fewer weeks of delays for motorists.”
Silvester said the greatest traffic impacts occurred in the westbound direction on Friday and Sunday afternoons when traffic would back up for about four or five miles.
“The longest delay we experienced was about 40 minutes, which was much better than the 90 minutes we had anticipated based on our traffic counts and studies,” Silvester said.
He credits travelers with using the zipper merge method - traveling in both lanes all the way to the merge point, and then taking turns to merge into the open lane - to reduce delays through the work zone.
“Not all drivers embraced the zipper merge concept, but when they did it seemed to help traffic flow faster and better at times of high congestion,” Silvester said.
Some additional work on the bridges remains and will require occasional overnight lane closures until the entire project is complete in November.
More information can be found at www.modot.org/central/I70LamineBridge.htm.