MODOT Presents Plans to Replace Two Carthage Bridges

MODOT Presents Plans to Replace Two Carthage Bridges
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MODOT has announced plans for a $4.4 million project in Carthage. It involves the replacement of 2 bridges and tonight dozens of residents were at a public meeting to give their input.

Soon, traffic will come to a stop on Highway 96. A large portion will be closed off as the Missouri Department of Transportation replaces 2 bridges, the first over the railroad tracks and the other just down the street at the Spring River overflow.

“They’ve deteriorated so that there’s nothing that you can use that’s there and we’re going to be going back with a wider, newer bridge to meet the traffic demands of today,” says the project manager Sean Matlock.

The railings are falling apart and the surfaces have been replaced multiple times. The larger bridge, the one over the railroad tracks, has a weight limit. A fully loaded school bus cannot even pass.

“It is effecting the way people travel now, especially trucks, because of the weight limit restrictions so by replacing the bridge that will be resolved,” says Matlock.

That larger bridge will include a barrier protected sidewalk and the other will have a wider shoulder. A city council member says this ties in with plans to make the streets bike friendly.

“We have a great opportunity with these two bridges being replaced to begin to work on a pathway, a pedestrian pathway from the city to one of the city’s parks, Kellogg Lake Park,” says Larry Chapin.

Residents do see the need for the construction but some are concerned about how long it will take. Business owners say that the detours could keep tourists out of their stores.

“A lot of people will come up town and never know we’re down there and if they don’t drive by on Route 66, then we’re missing a lot of business,” says Diane Meister.

“That’s our profit that’s going down the drain with the detour the way it is,” says business owner Paula Farmer.

MODOT expects construction to take 9 months. They plan to start construction next April and hope to be finished by December of 2017. MODOT officials say they’ll take tonight’s input from the public into consideration.