Workers have moved in to start on a $5.15 million project to rebuild and resurface two bridges over the Spring River on Interstate 49 immediately north of the Central Avenue interchange in Carthage.

Workers have moved in to start on a $5.15 million project to rebuild and resurface two bridges over the Spring River on Interstate 49 immediately north of the Central Avenue interchange in Carthage.
The Missouri Department of Transportation said the contractor, Capital Paving & Construction LLC, Jefferson City, started work to build “cross-overs,” which will allow four lanes of traffic to be folded into two lanes north and south of the Central Avenue interchange.
MoDOT Engineer Sean Matlock said the north side of the Central/I-49 interchange will be closed sometime before the week of April 23 for the duration of the project, which could last into December.
MoDOT described these impacts over the next few weeks to traffic on I-49 around the Central interchange.
• Beginning the week of March 19, for two weeks, temporary crossovers will be constructed closing passing lanes in both directions
• The northbound bridge will close the week of April 23 while the driving surface is rehabilitated moving two-way traffic into southbound lanes of I-49
• Once the northbound bridge is completed, contractor crews will move to the southbound bridge, shifting two-way traffic into the northbound lanes
• Motorists can expect significant traffic delays and a reduced speed limit of 60 mph through the work zone
• Drivers are urged to seek alternate routes around the construction
• Some work may occur on weekends
Weather and/or unforeseen delays will alter the work schedule and the official contract completion date is Dec. 15, although highway officials say they expect the project to be completed earlier than that.

Bridge restoration
Matlock said the work involves replacing metal parts of the bridge around the expansion joints in the bridge's surface.
Matlock said water and salt get into these expansion joints over time and causes the metal parts to deteriorate. Those bridges were built in 1984 when the four-lane U.S. Highway 71 was built around Carthage.
The steel caps that support the bridge girders and other metal pieces in three different places on each bridge will have to be replaced.
These parts had an expected lifespan of about 30 years and are ready for replacement.
Contractor crews will also remove the bridge deck/driving surface and replace it, beginning with the northbound bridge.

Detour
Drivers wanting to go north on I-49 from Carthage will not be able to get on the interstate at Central Avenue/Missouri Highway 171 after the interchange is closed around April 23.
Likewise, traffic traveling south and wanting to come into Carthage will not be able to exit at Central.
The south half of the interchange will remain open, Matlock said, meaning northbound interstate traffic will be able to exit at Central and traffic will be able to get on I-49 going south at Central.
Matlock said MoDOT will establish a signed detour, for large trucks especially, at the Garrison Avenue exit north of Kendricktown to bring southbound trucks into Carthage by way of County Route V and Missouri Highway 96 because of the nine-ton weight limits on the three old bridges between Carthage and Kendricktown.
Cars can still use North Garrison Avenue (Missouri 571) to come into town.