MODOT: $36 Million plan to replace 19 ailing bridges on I-44

Emery, Sapp and Sons wins bid, innovative arches
MODOT: $36 Million plan to replace 19 ailing bridges on I-44

19 bridges on Interstate 44 between Sarcoxie and Springfield will be replaced or improved as part of a $36 million dollar MODOT project.

MODOT and Emery, Sapp and Sons today said work will begin this spring in 2019 and be completed in 2021.

At least ten bridges have critical elements in poor condition. All the bridges were built between 1960 and 1964. And according to project director Greg Chapman are beyond their life expectancy. He said, “”Basically these bridges were designed for a 50 year service life. We’re over that service life. With respect to the amount of goods and services that traverse Interstate 44 everyday, combine that with the fact that ten of these bridges are in poor condition at this time with nine more on the verge, it’s time for us to start focusing on these bridges.”

Alternate routes and detours were outlined at a press conference Thursday. ESS plans to build arch structures away from traffic, under bridges to keep traffic flowing on top on I-44. They’ll also use smart work zones to minimize the impact on drivers.

Chapman explained, “Basically smart CMS (changeable message screen) boards partnered with sensors in the project, monitor traffic flow. When traffic gets to a certain speed, it will implement different messages on the CMS boards informing customers of what’s ahead. If there’s a 30 minute delay ahead, we want to let them know at the appropriate exit such that they can exit if they need to.”

MODOT’s longtime concern over bridges and the current plan meshed with Governor Parsons goal to tackle 900 bridges in poor condition that he recently announced. Chapman added, “We have over 10,300 bridges and a number of those are in poor condition with more everyday getting to that condition.”

Bridges at Route H and highway 39 will be tackled first. Jeremy Bexten with Emery, Sapp and Sons explained, “Our plan is to tackle Route H first then up at highway 39 which is over county road 11 and Williams street. We’ll finsih all that work ideally in 2019 which will allow us full access in and out of Mount Vernon at highwya 39 while we work on route 96 and other routes around the area.”

To find a link to the plans and detour routes click here.

Or go to