Motorists traveling Interstate 44 in Pulaski County will experience significant traffic impacts this summer when both the eastbound and westbound bridges that carry Interstate 44 over Smith and Tater Hollow will be repaired. The bridges are located between mile markers 171 and 173 near the Jerome exit on I-44.
Work on these bridges will begin the day after Memorial Day. Only one bridge will be worked on at a time and each bridge will take approximately one month to complete. During the work, only one lane of I-44 in one direction will be closed from mile marker 171 to mile marker 173.
“I-44 is one of the state’s busiest corridors, and this project will have a significant impact on traffic flow, especially during peak travel times, on holidays and when there are significant special events,” said Randy Aulbur, Construction and Materials Engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Central District.
Here is the upcoming timeline for the I-44 bridge project, which also includes repairing a third bridge on the I-44 westbound off-ramp to Jerome. All work schedules are weather permitting:
Repair work on the westbound I-44 bridge will begin the day after Memorial Day. One westbound lane will be closed while repairs are made to the bridge. During this work, contractors will also extend the existing I-44 westbound climbing lane at mile marker 171.8 an additional 800 feet. When completed, this will allow motorists more time to accelerate and merge with I-44 westbound traffic.
On July 27, work will begin on the eastbound I-44 bridge. One lane will be closed through the work zone.
Work will begin on the I-44 westbound off-ramp bridge to Jerome on Aug. 13. During the work, the I-44 off-ramp to Jerome will be closed to traffic. The ramp will be closed for one month while repairs are completed.
The eastbound and westbound bridges on I-44 carry about 14,000 vehicles per day. The Missouri Department of Transportation expects backups and traffic delays during peak travel times, especially during Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
“We want to make sure people are aware so they can plan ahead,” said Aulbur. “We know this work will be an inconvenience, but maintaining the bridges will provide 20 or more years of additional service, as well as a smoother ride for travelers. It’s important that we preserve the investments we’ve made in these bridges.”
The project also includes evening asphalt resurfacing and guardrail work on I-44 from mile marker 145 to mile marker 177 in Laclede, Pulaski, and Phelps Counties.
Preparation for the asphalt work begins on April 16 with an evening pavement grooving and guardrail operation in the westbound lanes of I-44. Motorists can expect one-lane closures from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. weeknights through May 16. The evening asphalt resurfacing portion of the project begins on June 4.
For more information about this project, visit www.modot.org/central.