SIKESTON-Southeast Missouri now has 116 improved bridges thanks to the Missouri Department of Transportation's Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program.
"With the opening of the Route 142 bridge over Main Ditch in Butler County on Aug. 15, we concluded the Southeast District's portion of the statewide Safe & Sound program," said District Construction and Materials Engineer Andy Meyer.
The program's mission is to improve over 800 of the state's worst bridges in five years. Completion is anticipated by the end of 2012-more than a year ahead of schedule.
Meyer stated that road closures have been one of the keys to the program's success.
"Road closures help speed construction and control costs," he said. "However, we realize that closures are an inconvenience and have appreciated the public's patience throughout the program."
He explained some residents were initially skeptical when MoDOT shared its plan for road closures.
"The Safe & Sound team and our subcontractors made it a priority to honor our commitments, and residents soon saw firsthand that we planned to meet or exceed their expectations by delivering results quickly," said Meyer.
The average closure across the state has been about 40 days, or half the time a typical bridge replacement requires.
"The projects completed have exemplified the speed, flexibility and quality we can achieve when funding is available," he said.
In addition to the support the program received from local residents, Meyer explained MoDOT employees were highly dedicated to the program's success.
"The Safe & Sound program has been very rewarding, and we have drawn on the talents of employees across the Department," said Meyer. "From designers reviewing plans to maintenance crews completing prep work and monitoring road closures, MoDOT has truly made this a priority."
For more information, please contact District Construction and Materials Engineer Andy Meyer at (573) 472-5296 or MoDOT's Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888 ASK MODOT (275-6636). Visit www.modot.mo.gov/safeandsound for more information about the statewide program.