A message from MODOT:
Some major traffic impacts are in store for travelers in the Columbia area as construction of the Interstate 70 bridges at Rangeline Street, Business Loop 70 and Garth Avenue enters its second phase.
Beginning next week, I-70 westbound traffic at both Garth and Rangeline will be redirected on to the new westbound bridges built at those locations. The lane shift at Rangeline will begin at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8, while the Garth lane shift will start at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Late the following week, eastbound traffic will be shifted to the existing westbound bridges.
The lane shifts will allow the contractor, Emery Sapp and Sons, to tear down the existing eastbound bridges and begin building new ones in their place. A diagram showing the lane switches can be found on the project website, www.modot.org/ColumbiaBridges.
The speed limit on I-70 through the work zone will be reduced from 60 mph to 50 mph, which by itself could cause traffic to back up at peak travel times. Couple that with the ongoing work and lane switches and you have the potential for some significant traffic issues, said Travis Koestner, assistant district engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Central District.
“The take away here is that local motorists should avoid I-70 through Columbia as much as possible until this project is finished next fall,” Koestner said. “There are plenty of other ways to get around Columbia, and we encourage local residents who use I-70 as an east-west city street to use other options to prevent cross-state traffic from becoming snarled. The less traffic in the area, the faster and safer the work can be completed.”
Newly installed cameras at the three bridge locations are available to help the public view traffic flow and bridge construction progress. The cameras can be viewed on the project website, www.modot.org/ColumbiaBridges.
In addition, a Smart Work Zone system is in place to keep traffic moving. The system uses cameras and sensors to determine travel times through the project limits and provide real-time travel updates to motorists via message boards.
“There is a lot of work going on in a high traffic area, so we’re doing all we can to keep motorists informed and safe in the work zone,” Koestner said. “In return, we ask them to do their part by staying alert if they must travel through the area.”
The $18 million design-build project, which also includes building new roundabouts at the Business Loop 70/West Boulevard interchange and at Rangeline, is running slightly ahead of schedule. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 1, 2016.
For more information and to sign up to receive weekly e-mail updates on the project, visit www.modot.org/ColumbiaBridges.