CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - In a few months, the Missouri Department of Transportation plans to make repairs on the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge.
Project manager Tim Pickett with MoDOT says the repair project was originally slated to begin in 2020, but after inspecting the connection points of where the bridge meets land they decided to accelerate the work to early next year.
“You own a big bridge you are going to have maintenance," Pickett said. "And it’s a continual thing. That is why we inspect it.”
Pickett says the modular joints on the bridge are almost fifteen years old and hopes the new replacements last even longer.
MoDOT plans to replace the joints connecting the bridge that land on the Missouri side of the bridge.
“You’ve got the bridge that is all a structure on it’s own and then you’ve got the land side. This is that piece that kind of connects the two," Pickett said. "And of course with weather changes, expansion and contraction and pushing against stuff that is what has created that bump up there that you hear. And we hope with this project to alleviate that.”
Pickett says another goal is to strengthen nearby areas.
“We will replace some approach pavement and then also do some repairs to the back wall of the abutment while we are in there," Pickett said. "It is kind of a precarious place to work so there will be some disruptions to traffic.”
Pickett says the construction will close two lanes on the bridge and the entrance to Fountain Street, so when the repair work starts there will be head-to-head traffic on one side of the bridge.
Pickett wants to remind people to slow down in construction zones and to buckle up and put their phone away.
The repair work to the bridge could begin as early as February 2019.
MoDOT is still waiting on a final work day study, but Pickett says it could take between four and eight months to finish the entire project.