KY3 Traffic Alert: MoDOT beginning work on I-44 east of Springfield on Monday

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 6:43 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2022 at 7:38 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Starting Monday, August 8, you might want to build in a little extra travel time if you’re driving eastbound on I-44 between Springfield and Strafford.

That’s because a section of the interstate will be closed for up to 26 days for bridge and pavement work.

And even though MoDOT is asking drivers to consider taking alternate routes, the interstate closure will not involve making cars leave I-44 and using outer roads to get back on the interstate miles down the road.

Instead, they’re rebuilding the exit-and-entry ramps at the construction area to turn them into a bypass road for travelers to circumvent the work going on.

The signs warning of road work are already up on Interstate 44 between Springfield and Strafford, and the eastbound on-and-off ramps at Mile Marker 84 are already closed.

But that’s because the ramps are undergoing their construction work to become a unique way of getting traffic detoured around the main project that’s about to get underway.

That starts on Friday when the bridge overpass at Mile Marker 84, known as the Mulroy Road Bridge or George Kennedy Memorial Bridge, will be closed for up to 26 days for rehabilitation work.

“The contractor will repair the substructure,” explained Jacob Capeder, a MoDOT Assistant Resident Engineer. “Anything underneath the bridge that needs repaired, as well as concrete replacement on top of the deck.”

Then on Monday, August 8, comes the significant change when Interstate 44 will be closed in the eastbound lanes from the Mile Marker 84 off-ramp to the on-ramp to replace the pavement and install median drain improvements.

But instead of detouring the 20,000 cars that travel that section of the interstate every day to surrounding outer roads, MoDOT is trying a different approach. Those ramps are currently being reconfigured and widened so that starting Monday. Traffic will shift to the exit ramp and swing back over to the interstate using the on-ramp like a big curve.

“It will be treated as a bypass and not an exit,” Capeder pointed out. “We’re doing some elevation changes (as the ramps rise and fall from the apex of the bridge road) to make it ride as it would on an interstate. The cars will just go up-and-over and continue eastbound.”

That doesn’t mean there won’t be bottlenecks, though. Starting at U.S. 65, the eastbound speed limit will drop from 60 mph to 50.

“And then once traffic gets closer to the actual shift where they’ll go up the ramp, that will be reduced down to 45 mph,” Capeder said.

Also, considering there’s so much truck traffic with the Partnership Industrial Center nearby, drivers are still being encouraged to take alternate routes as the work on the interstate road may last up to 23 days.

“We’ve got signs posted, but if they’re eastbound, they’ll go south on U.S. 65, get off on Kearney Street heading east, and that detour goes all the way to Strafford,” Capeder said. “Then they can get back on the interstate there.”

And keep in mind that this work is only on the eastbound side of Interstate 44.

“The only thing westbound people will need to worry about is if they get off on exit 84, they will not be able to turn left across the bridge,” Capeder said. “Because that bridge will be shut down.”

For more information, call MoDOT in Springfield at 417-895-7600 or visit www.modot.org/southwest

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

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