Construction on Route 96 Bridges to Begin Next Week

Construction on Route 96 Bridges to Begin Next Week

MODOT announced that demolition will begin next week on 2 bridges in Carthage. One has been closed since September and some nearby business owners are worried about the impact the construction will have.
The number of cars on Central Avenue has significantly decreased following the closure of the Route 96 Bridge over the railroad tracks. For Dustin Hensley, it means less customers at his shop.
“A lot of my business is drive by traffic and being a major road way through town, it really kills the traffic,” says Hensley, owner of 66 Sales and Service.
And with less people in the area, he’s also seen an increase in theft.
“I’ve had a lot of little things disappear, radios being taken out and people have tried to break into my business they just didn’t succeed thankfully,” he says.
Even fewer cars will travel this way starting February 27, when a second bridge on Route 96 is closed for the start of construction. MODOT officials host a public meeting to answer community member’s questions. Hensley’s main concern is when the bridges will be back open.
“September 15 is when they have to be done. However we do have heavy incentives in this contract and we’re hoping with that, we’ll be able to open those bridges up much, much sooner,” says Sean Matlock with MODOT.
That of course will depend on weather. Until then, drivers will have to follow a detour.
“On route V and Garrison Avenue, it will be designated as the U.S. 66 historic route detour,” says Matlock.
Truck drivers will be directed a different way, down route 37 and across I-44 and I-49, bypassing Carthage completely.
And while 7 months of detours will effect business, Hensley says as long as law enforcement steps up patrols, he’s confident he’ll be able to survive.
“Luckily with online sales and good advertising I’ll be able to get through without it being too negatively affected,” he says.
MODOT officials say construction will begin sooner than originally planned. The total cost of the project is $6.2 million.