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Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

Officials hope signs will help during I-57 improvements

Friday, July 20, 2007

(Photo)
MoDOT's new Incident By-Pass Rout signs will stay in place permanently.
CHARLESTON -- Improvements to Interstate 57 near Charleston may disrupt traffic but MoDOT has a plan and new signs to make things less inconvenient.

Eric Krapf, project manager for the Missouri Department of Transportation, presented Mississippi County commissioners with information about the project and the possibility of traffic delays during their regular meeting Thursday.

"We have some good news you probably already know about," Krapf said.

Krapf said MoDOT will be resurfacing the southbound lanes of I-57 from the Mississippi River bridge to the overpass just west of Highway 105 at Charleston.

"We're going to be paving the southbound lane with new concrete," he said.

During construction, parts of southbound I-57 will be closed and southbound traffic diverted to one of the northbound lanes although all the interchanges will remain open.

The crossover construction is already under way and should be done next week.

Flynn Construction of Iowa, the contractor for this project, is slated to begin the resurfacing construction later this month.

The project, which will include a total of about 13 miles, will be completed in two stages.

"They're going to do about six miles at a time," Krapf said.

The first stage, which will start at the south end, should be completed in December, he said. The second stage will begin in the spring and should be completed in the summer of 2008.

The existing roadway will be left in place, according to Krapf. "Essentially the old (concrete) becomes the base," he said.

Krapf said the existing concrete will be covered with about an inch of asphalt upon which crews will then lay 8 inches of new concrete. "We've done this in numerous other locations around the state," he said.

As compared with some other methods used by MoDOT, "this is more of a long-term solution," Krapf said. MoDOT officials expect the road's new surface to be good for about 25-30 years.

"It's good news, a good project for the area," he said.

Krapf also advised commissioners of MoDOT's I-57 Incident Management Plan.

With the interstate reduced to one lane in each direction during the resurfacing, a plan has been developed by MoDOT to deal with accidents or other emergencies that could slow or halt traffic in the area.

This plan includes the designation of an Incident Bypass Route which MoDOT has marked using a new type of detour sign, according to Tonya Wells, community relations specialist for MoDOT's southeast district.

"Those signs will be in place permanently," Wells said. "It's a new thing we're doing."

The signs, which have white text on a blue circle on a square white sign, are intended to save MoDOT time, manpower and money in the long run while giving motorists an instant alternative route in the event anything ever happens in that area, saving them frustration and time lost sitting in traffic, she said.

Missouri is the first state to use permanent signs for designating incident bypass routes.

In what MoDOT calls a minor incident in which they expect less than 30 minutes of lane closure due to construction or automobile breakdown, a changeable message board will be used to update motorists.

An intermediate incident, which MoDOT defines as longer than 30 minutes but less than two hours of lane closure due to something like a minor accident, MoDOT will use the changeable message board and will contact local media, law enforcement and 911.

In the event of a major incident, maintenance workers would close ramps and detour traffic as necessary in addition to using a changeable message board and contacting media, law enforcement and 911.

Krapf said MoDOT intends to do "the same type of improvement" on roughly the same length of the northbound lanes in 2010.