MoDot Says Prepare for Major Backups During Rocheport Bridge Work
Missouri Department of Transportation Project Manager Melissa Wilbers says "three to eight-hour backups are possible" when MoDOT begins a massive refurbishment of the I-70 Rocheport bridge. This according to a report from Missourinet.
Wilbers goes on to say, "we have actually seen those types of delays in our inspection that we had done earlier this year" and I believe her.
When I started working for the radio stations I went back to my then home in the Quad Cities several times. Once Google Maps routed me around I-70 because of a bridge back up. Another time the bridge work was on the "other" side of the bridge, but yeah, traffic was a nightmare going the other direction.
According to the Missourinet article the 59 year old bridge is in poor condition and construction will start next spring to add ten to fifteen years to the bridge's lifespan. Work includes surface sealing, joint replacement, steel structure repairs and sub structure repairs. The project would be completed in late 2020.
If MoDOT receives a $176 million dollar infasturcture grant it applied for from the federal government , they won't repair the bridge, they'll replace it. Replacing the bridge if they get the Rebuilding America grant instead of repairing it won't cause nearly the backups that repairing it will.
The bridge carries twelve million vehicles and three million trucks a year across their spans.
I hope MoDOT gets their grant. I-70 isn't going to become any less popular anytime soon. Adding ten to fifteen years to it's lifespan really only kicks the can down the road to replacing it. At some point the bridge is going to need replacement. It beats white knuckling the steering wheel while crossing it because you don't know how safe it really is.
Residents of the Quad Cities have experienced that for years while they waited for their I-74 bridge over the Mississippi River to be replaced. One local of Operating Engineers in Joliet took out billboards near the I-80 bridge in Joliet warning drives the bridge may not be safe to drive on. An assertion the Illinois Department of Transportation disputed.
That can all be avoided if MoDOT gets their grant for replacement. It may also save those who travel over the bridge the pain of long delays.