Construction set for crossover on Callaway County bridge

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CALLAWAY COUNTY - Preliminary construction on a Callaway County bridge over a southbound lane U.S. Route 63 will begin tonight. 

A contractor organization known as Capital Paving and Construction will work on the bridge between hours of 7 p.m.-6 a.m. within the next month. The construction to create a crossover for the south side of the bridge which is more than 60 years old. 

Dennis Heckman, state bridge engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation, said the bridge needed updates to increase safety across the highway and reduce unintended closures that resulted from damages. 

“When we looked at which bridges to fix with our limited funds, one of the things we looked at is impact on traffic," Heckman said. "We’re having to patch holes on this bridge so often, that we’re having to do unplanned closures to patch it, so we thought this would be a good time to make a more permanent fix.”

The construction will result in rerouting traffic from the southbound bridge to one lane on the northbound bridge by June. The northbound bridge already has a crossover for incoming traffic.

The bridge stands over part of the Katy Trail that runs through Callaway County. Heckman said MoDot would work to find a balance for residents and tourists who use the park while construction occurs.

Heckman thinks a new deck on the bridge holds benefits for commuters and infrastructure.

"By putting a new deck on the bridge, when it does rain, the water sheds off instead of going to the part underneath," Heckman said. "Not only will it be a smoother ride for the public, it will be easier on the cars, the bumps won’t be near as bad."

Aaron Peck, a MoDOT construction administrator for the project, said the construction may cause traffic inconveniences over summer, but the construction was needed to avoid potential dangers as the bridge ages.

"Part of our transportation system is not only building new infrastructure but maintaining what we have," Peck said. "If we don't maintain the bridges we already have in out system, you'll have bridges closed for a long time period when you have to build an entirely new bridge instead." 

Long-term construction will also include widening the southbound bridge and updating a guardrail.  Peck said construction will run through August or September.