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Lanes set to be opened to traffic today on diversion channel bridge

Friday, May 21, 2004

SIKESTON - Motorists will welcome a difference in driving on Interstate 55 from Sikeston to Cape Girardeau. Both the northbound and southbound lanes of traffic reopened to two lanes at the diversion channel today, weather permitting.

Penzel Construction, contractor for the diversion channel Bridge project, expects to have two-lane traffic flowing on the northbound lane by 1 p.m. This lane is currently reduced to one-lane traffic and has been detoured to the southbound lane.

"There may be intermittent periods of lane closures on the northbound lane after the Memorial Day holiday as the contractor finishes up some minor adjustments," said Bob Wilson, resident engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Wilson said before the concrete barrier is removed on the southbound lane, MoDOT crew will make repairs. This work is expected to be completed in early June and then the barrier will be removed. Traffic will then return to normal.

In August 2000, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission awarded a $10,681,982 construction contract to Penzel Construction Company Inc. of Jackson. The improvements included replacing the northbound bridge over the diversion channel with a new seismically-designed structure and adding a third lane the full length of the I-55 bridge to provide room for acceleration for the northbound on-ramp traffic.

The project also included relocating the on and off ramps at the interchange to better accommodate the turning movements of large trucks so traffic flows better.

For more information about this and other MoDOT projects, call the MoDOT Customer Service Center toll-free at (888) 275-6636.