Road construction could cause delays

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JEFFERSON CITY - Road improvement projects on two major highways are set to slow Columbia and Jefferson City commuters down this summer.

Beginning May 1, bridge repairs over the Bonne Femme Creek south of Discovery Parkway will reduce southbound traffic on Route 63 to one lane until mid-June. According to a MoDOT press release, commuters can expect delays of 30 minutes or more, possibly as long as two hours.

However, its not only Columbia commmuters who will have to leave a little extra time for their commute. MoDOT officials also announced the beginning of road and bridge improvements along Route 54 Monday morning in Jefferson City.

According Central District Construction and Materials Engineer Randy Aulbur, the project plans to resurface, add guardrail improvements and repair pavements and shoulders on the east and westbound lanes from the Missouri River Bridge to just south of the Stadium Boulevard interchange in Jefferson City.

Aulbur said the work, scheduled to begin May 7 with the eastbound side, also includes the rehabilitation and improvement of six bridges.

"We're gonna kind of do it in two parts, that first section, so we'll jump in here next week and start and the idea is that by Memorial Day we'll have it opened back up. Then we'll come back in right after Memorial Day and do the opposite lane that we were working on in advance of that," Aulbur said.

Scheduled to finish November 1, Aulbur said this kind of maintenance happens routinely every 25 to 30 years and is not an indication there is anything wrong with the highway or bridges.

"This is really a way to stabilize the condition that we've got on these structures and improve it to the manner that we can extend the life of this structure as a whole," Aulbur said.

Aulbur said while widespread road construction inconveniences everyone, summer's warm weather makes it the best time for crews to lay asphalt.

"In general, asphalt gets laid down hot, you need to be able to maintain that heat while the application is taking place and in the winter time its very difficult to do that and maintain that temperature of the mix," Aulbur said.

To find out more information on road closings and delays, please visit MoDOT's Traveler Information Map.