Construction on U.S. 67 will continue for several weeks while workers replace two bridges.
There are two bridge replacement projects on U.S. 67 in St. Francois County — the northbound bridge over Big River in the northern end of the county and the northbound bridge over the St. Francois River in the southern end of the county.
Matt Malone, resident engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), said the project south of Farmington is expected to be finished by Aug. 25. The new bridge deck has been poured. He said it is possible the project could be finished before then depending on weather and other things.
He said they have just started removing the existing bridge deck over the Big River bridge just north of Desloge. That project is expected to wrap up by Oct. 5.
“They just started removing the existing deck,” he said.
With both projects, traffic has been diverted into the southbound lanes. He urges motorists to be cautious. The speed limit has been reduced.
These are two of the four Safe and Sound Bridge projects in St. Francois County. The bridge over Wolf Creek on Route F has also been replaced and the bridge over Koen Creek on Route O has also been replaced.
The projects were awarded to Joe’s Bridge and Grading of Poplar Bluff.
These four were among the first 19 bridges to receive improvements under the Safe and Sound Bridge Program which will repair more than 800 of the state’s lowest-rated bridges within the next five years. Each bridge will be marked with a Safe and Sound logo near the bridges.
MoDOT employees from the Jefferson County office have been overseeing the guard cable project. The state is installing guard cable in the median on U.S. 67 from Fredericktown to Interstate 55.
Eric Burbaw, project inspector, said installation is complete from Fredericktown to Farmington. A portion between Farmington and Desloge is installed but needs to be tensioned.
They are skipping over Desloge and Bonne Terre while the construction project is going on. He said if the projects are completed early enough, the contractor might come back and install guard there. He said the guard cable project must be completed by Dec. 1.
According to MoDOT, the guard has been installed on interstates and has proven to prevent crossover head-on accidents. Guard cable has stopped more than 95 percent of vehicles that enter the median and reduced fatalities by 92 percent in four years.
Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.