JEFFERSON CITY - One of the busiest bridge construction seasons Missourians have ever seen is under way. As the weather improves in the coming weeks, bridge replacement and rehabilitation projects as part of the Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program will begin popping up all across the state, and that means motorists should prepare for road closures and detours.
More than 200 bridges are scheduled for work this year, and in almost all cases, the bridges will be closed during construction to lower the cost and allow for speedy completion. Replacing the bridges in their current locations greatly reduces the need for additional right of way and costly roadway work, enabling more bridges to be improved within the project's $700 million budget. In all, Safe & Sound will improve or replace 802 of the state's poorest bridges.
Most of the bridges being constructed in 2010 - about 150 - will be complete replacements as part of MoDOT's design-build contract with KTU Constructors. KTU has set up regional offices in Lee's Summit, Bethany, Chillicothe, Sedalia and Benton to coordinate this year's work that will take place primarily in northwest and west central Missouri, the Kansas City area and the Bootheel. KTU's projects, by contract, are to last an average of 45 days - or half as long as the typical bridge replacement.
To help motorists stay abreast of the construction schedule and to navigate around these projects, MoDOT has created an interactive Web map that includes suggested detour routes, project details and schedule information - http://safeandsoundmap.modot.mo.gov/sas.htm. The color-coded map shows bridges that are under construction, those that have been completed, those that are to begin within three months, those that are to start in the next year, and those that are scheduled for construction in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Since Safe & Sound construction began a year ago, 124 bridges have been replaced or repaired.
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