Jefferson City bridge construction

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COLUMBIA—A Missouri construction project has been delayed after MoDOT officials had concerns about the process.

The production of the Westbound side of the Route 54/63 bridge in Jefferson City will not start until May 1. It was originally scheduled to start at seven this evening to avoid affecting traffic.

MoDOT Central District Engineer David Silvester said the delay came about after the workers and engineers determined the contractor’s planned process of removing the paint from the bridge’s steel beams would not get the desired end result.

“We encountered some issues with how the contractor was working on some of the sand-blasting underneath the bridge,” said Silvester

The sand-blasting process removes the old paint from the steel beams, which are then recoated with a primer. Silvester calls the painting process critical and that the last time it was done on this particular bridge was 18 years ago.

“Hopefully we’ll get another 20… 25 years out of this structure,” said Silvester.

The Westbound bridge project will cost about $7 million, which is much cheaper than replacing the whole bridge. Silvester said that process would cost close to $100 million.

Once the Westbound portion of the bridge officially closes on May 1, traffic will be rerouted to the Eastbound side where traffic will flow in both directions. The opposing routes will be separated by a concrete barrier. 

Silvester is apologetic for the delay in the project but said it will not affect the projected finish date.

“[The delay] doesn’t extend the length of the closure. We’re still going to have 120 days. That’s where we were. We were going to open it early-to-mid August, now we’re going to be in the later part of August,” said Silvester.

MoDOT will keep motorists updated if there were to be any future delays and what the reroutes will look like when the Westbound part of the bridge closes.