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Springfield District Office (417) 895-7600

June 14, 2011 09:07 AM
For Safety Reasons, Chestnut Expressway
CLOSED Under U.S. 65 at 11 p.m. June 19 thru Aug. 1

MoDOT, Southwest District, Springfield -- Chestnut Expressway will be CLOSED underneath Route 65 for up to six weeks starting at 11 p.m. Sunday, June 19, for construction of a new bridge in the median of Route 65, the Missouri Department of Transportation said.

The closing -- until Aug. 1 -- is needed to ensure the safety of drivers and bridge construction workers.

No traffic on Chestnut Expressway will be allowed to travel under Route 65.

All ramps will be OPEN to traffic during the closing of Chestnut Expressway underneath the highway, but drivers will only be able to make right-hand turns onto or off of Chestnut Expressway.

The framing needed to pour concrete for the new bridge will hang too low over Chestnut Expressway to provide adequate clearance for tractor-trailer rigs, RVs and other large vehicles traveling on Chestnut Expressway.

A new bridge in the Route 65 median spanning Chestnut Expressway (Bus. Route 65) is being built as part of the Route 65 six-laning project scheduled for completion by the fall of 2011.

On June 7, prime contractor Emery Sapp and Sons of Columbia was about to begin putting up the framing, or "false work," for the new bridge and had suspended an orange low-clearance sign 13 feet, 1 inch above Chestnut Expressway. In addition, other signs and electronic message boards approaching the bridge were set up to alert drivers to the low clearance. Despite those efforts, the suspended sign was struck by numerous large trucks.

Through that day, MoDOT engineers and Emery Sapp representatives became convinced that, despite various traffic-control measures, it would be difficult to make sure the new bridge under construction would not be hit, causing damage or bringing it down altogether.

That puts people's lives at risk -- those driving underneath Route 65 as well as the workers building the new bridge.

Use Alternate Routes

After 11 p.m. Sunday, June 19

No detour will be marked.

Of the busiest traffic movements:

* Northbound drivers who normally use Chestnut Expressway underneath Route 65 are advised exit onto Sunshine Street and use other city streets to reach Chestnut Expressway.

* Southbound Route 65 drivers will be able to exit onto Chestnut Expressway and turn west only.

* Eastbound Chestnut Expressway drivers will be able to turn south onto Route 65.

Several local streets west of Route 65 and county roads east of Route 65 may be used to get around the closing.

Project Background

The Route 65 six-laning between I-44 and Route 60 is a partnership project involving MoDOT, the City of Springfield and Greene County. It includes building new bridges over Catalpa Street, two railroad lines and Chestnut Expressway and rehabilitating other bridges. Construction cost: $27 million.

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