Interstate arching tunnel set for Mt. Vernon

Steve Chapman

 These I-44 bridges over Railroad Drive in Mt. Vernon are set to be replaced with a low maintenance, drive-through arch in the near future. (Photo by Ryan Squibb)

The Missouri Department of Transportation will replace or improve 19 bridges along 1-44 between Sarcoxie and Halltown by Dec. 15, 2021. The work is part of Project Bridge Rebuild, an effort to replace or rehabilitate the bridges, which were built as part of the original construction of I-44 in the 1960s. Because of their age, the bridges are becoming incredibly difficult to maintain for safe travel across the interstate.
According to information provided by the Missouri Department of Transportation, 15 of the bridges being replaced or repaired are located in Lawrence County. Near Mt. Vernon, the east and west-bound bridges at I-44-mile marker 47. 4 which go over Country Road 1147, also known as Railroad Drive, will be replaced with a low maintenance arch, and the west-bound bridge at mile marker 43.4, which crosses Spring River and the east and westbound bridges at mile maker 44.3, which goes over Route H, will also be replaced. The east and westbound bridges at mile maker 43.2, which goes over the MNA/UP Railroad, will be widened and be given a new deck. The east and westbound bridges at mile marker 48.4, where I-44 crosses Williams Creek, will also be widened; they will also get a new superstructure.
Near Halltown, the east and westbound bridges at mile-marker 58.0, where traffic enters and exits Highway 96, will be replaced with a low-maintenance arch. The east and westbound bridges at mile markers 56.1 and 56.7, where I-44 goes over Goose Creek and Turnback Creek, respectively, will also be replaced.
 The project is divided into five segments along 1-44. The bridges in Segment One are located in Jasper County; work on them begins in 2020. Segment Two comprises the bridges going over the MNA/UP Railroad and Spring River. Construction work on the eastbound bridges will begin later this year; work on the westbound bridges will take place in 2020.
Segment Three contains the bridges going over Railroad Drive, Route H and Williams Creek. Work on both the east and westbound bridges will take place later this year. Segment Four contains the bridges crossing Goose Creek and Turnback Creek, and Segment Five contains the bridges at the Route 96 Intersection. Work on both Segments Four and Five begin in 2020.
MoDOT warns travelers to expect lane closings and travel shifts at the bridges while they are under construction, as well as major traffic delays at times. One lane of traffic will be open at all times in each direction during the construction; large trucks are advised to find alternative routes during the construction.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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