Boonville residents concerned about emergency I-70 bridge repair

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BOONVILLE - Boonville residents and business owners said the upcoming bridge shutdown will disturb their plans.

The Missouri Department of Transportation announced Wednesday an eastbound lane of I-70 bridge near Rocheport will be shut down for repairs. The bridge is set to close on Saturday and will be closed for several days.

Ron Williams, a Boonville resident who regularly travels to Columbia for work, said the closure is going to change some of his plans.

“[I will] just plan better, leave a little bit earlier if I want to be able to make that trip back and forth,” Williams said.

Williams said he’s concerned about all of the work that has been done on the I-70 bridge in the past couple of months. He said it makes him feel unsafe to drive over it.

“It makes it scary to go across a bridge that isn’t 100 percent,” Williams said.

Williams said usually when the bridge closes, crews reroute traffic to U.S. Route 40, and it can create more traffic and congestion.

“If they reroute traffic through I-40 it’s going to really be a nightmare, but if that’s the only way to do it, they really need to rebuild that bridge,” Williams said.

The bridge closure could also have an effect on some of the downtown businesses in Boonville. Ami Hunter, sales associate at Molly’s Jewelry, said the closure causes traffic and affects when customers come to the store.

“A lot of businesses downtown, including ours, close around 5 or 6. We’re one of the later ones closing at 6, so with this bridge construction [customers] are not able to get back in town and do the shopping they need to do locally,” Hunter said.

Hunter said other businesses downtown have probably seen fewer customers come in because of this construction.

“A lot of customers work in Columbia, so we stay busier later because they’re coming in later,” Hunter said.

Like Williams, Hunter said all the work done on the I-70 bridge concerns her.

“That bridge always has something going on, specifically accidents,” Hunter said.