JEFFERSON CITY – Mizzou fans, deer hunters and other travelers are reminded they likely will encounter some significant delays on the eastbound Route 54/63 Missouri River Bridge in Jefferson City this weekend as the westbound bridge opens to traffic.
The eastbound bridge is expected to be especially congested on Saturday morning, as travel will be reduced to one lane to allow workers to take down the concrete barrier separating the lanes, remove the temporary striping and place new pavement markings. Eastbound Route 54/63 traffic will be down to one lane until Saturday evening.
The eastbound bridge has been carrying two lanes of traffic in each direction since May 1 when the westbound bridge closed for painting and other repairs.
“Although the end is in sight, we’re not quite out of the woods yet,” said David Silvester, district engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Central District. “We know this is a busy weekend with the Missouri Tigers football game in Columbia on Saturday and the beginning of deer season, among other activities. We ask for drivers to plan ahead, allow extra time for their travels, drive the speed limit and stay focused on the road.”
Work to reopen the westbound Route 54/63 bridge will start after 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, with both the eastbound and westbound bridges fully open to traffic by 6 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14. The following is a tentative timeline for the reopening:
- Starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, westbound traffic on the eastbound bridge will be reduced to one lane so the westbound bridge can be opened. All lanes of the westbound bridge will be open Friday evening. The access ramp from Route 54/63 to West Main Street and the westbound on-ramp from Route W to Route 54/63 will also open Friday evening.
- At about 7 p.m. on Friday, eastbound traffic will also be reduced to one lane to allow workers to take down the concrete barrier separating the lanes, remove the temporary striping and place new pavement markings. Eastbound Route 54/63 traffic will be down to one lane until Saturday evening.
- By 6 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14, both bridges will reopen to traffic, as will the access ramp from West Main Street to Route 54/63 and the eastbound on-ramp from McCarty Street to Route 54/63.
After Nov. 14, drivers may experience some single-lane closures on the westbound bridge during non-peak hours.
“By Monday morning, travel over the Missouri River in Jefferson City will have returned to normal and there will be cheering,” Silvester said. “We are as happy as the next person to reach this point, and we once again want to thank everyone for their support and patience as we delivered this important project. Repainting and repairing the westbound bridge will ensure the it remains in good shape for several more decades.”
Silvester also noted that there are no current plans to close the eastbound bridge for repainting.
“We’ve heard that some folks think we’re going to turn around and work on the eastbound bridge once the westbound bridge is open, and that’s not the case,” Silvester said. “The eastbound bridge is much newer, built in 1991, and should not need repainting for some time.”
The same travel tools that have been in place to help motorists throughout the closure will remain available through the bridge reopening. Those include:
- MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map - located at www.modot.org, the map shows current traffic conditions on the bridge, including incidents and real-time traffic flow.
- Traffic cameras - There are four traffic cameras on the map that provide a view of traffic on and near the bridges.
- MoDOT’s toll-free number – The number, 888-275-6636, is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Callers can speak with a customer service representative to get the latest traffic information.
More information is available at www.modot.org/central or by calling 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636).