For Missouri River Bridge commuters, there’s a reason to celebrate next week: work to reopen the westbound Route 54/63 bridge over the Missouri River in Jefferson City will start after 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, with both the eastbound and westbound bridges fully open to traffic by 6 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14.
The westbound bridge closed on May 1 for painting and other repairs, and the eastbound bridge has been carrying two lanes of traffic in each direction since then. The original completion date for the work was the end of August, but unforeseen additional structural repairs delayed the opening until Nov. 14.
“We’re heading into the home stretch, and we ask drivers to remain patient and focused as we work to open the westbound bridge and return traffic flow to normal on the eastbound bridge,” said David Silvester, district engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Central District. “We expect some fairly significant delays between Friday evening and Monday morning, especially at peak travel times. If there is any way drivers could avoid the bridge next weekend, that would be the best scenario.”
Silvester said the work scheduled to take place next weekend will look a lot like the efforts to close the westbound bridge last May, only in reverse. Here is a tentative timeline for the reopening:
• Starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, westbound traffic on the eastbound bridge will be reduced to one lane so the westbound bridge can be opened. All lanes of the westbound bridge will be open Friday evening. The access ramp from Route 54/63 to West Main Street and the westbound on-ramp from Route W to Route 54/63 will also open Friday evening.
• At about 7 p.m. on Friday, eastbound traffic will also be reduced to one lane to allow workers to take down the concrete barrier separating the lanes, remove the temporary striping and place new pavement markings. Eastbound Route 54/63 traffic will be down to one lane until Saturday evening.
• By 6 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14, both bridges will reopen to traffic, as will the access ramp from West Main Street to Route 54/63 and the eastbound on-ramp from McCarty Street to Route 54/63.
After Nov. 14, drivers may experience some single-lane closures on the westbound bridge during non-peak hours.
“We can’t thank everyone enough for their patience throughout this project,” Silvester said. “We know the bridge closure was trying and tiresome, and we thank everyone for hanging in there with us. We now have a fully repainted bridge that should last at least another 20-30 years.”