The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has announced that plans are underway to replace the decks of both the U.S. Highway 65 Grand River and Route 190 Thompson River bridges near Chillicothe.

Rick Orr, transportation project manager with MoDOT, said the projects call for two separate jobs.

“Crews will be removing the existing concrete driving surface from both bridges - and doing some repairs to the longitudinal girders and the cross bracing support and then will pour new bridge deck on both structures,” he said. “That should make them as close to as new as we can without refabricating any of the parts.”

MoDOT contracted with Garver Inc., to design the new bridge decks.

In August, the project will be open for bids. According to Orr, during the September meeting of the Missouri Transportation and Highways Commission the project will be awarded to a bidder.

The U.S. Highway 65 Grand River Bridge was built in 1995, and it is believed as many as 1,780 vehicles cross the bridge daily. The bridge deck replacement project will help provide a smoother riding surface and bring bridge barriers and guardrail up to current standards.

In February, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe joined MoDOT crews at the bridge site as part of an announcement of Gov. Mike Parson’s Focus on Bridges project to repair or replace 250 of the bridges in the state of Missouri that have been determined to be in poor condition. During his visit to the Grand River Bridge, Kehoe told the crowd the bridge is on the list of 250 to be accelerated for repair. The purpose of the Focus on Bridges initiative is to allow MoDOT to catch-up a bit on the bridge projects.

It was also announced in February that the Thompson River Bridge on Highway 190, which was built in 1964 will be repaired. There are an estimated 1,164 cars and trucks that cross the Thompson River Bridge each day.

“The bridge deck replacement project will help provide a smoother riding surface and bring bridge barriers and guardrail up to current standards,” Orr noted. “We do bridge inspections on all bridge structures every year and we've known that there needed to be some repair to the super structure - and MoDOT just hasn’t had the ability to do them due to our asset management plans. But they have been programmed for this year and have been advanced due to the governor’s bridge program.”

While bidding has not been completed, estimates are that each bridge will cost in excess of $1 million to repair.

Orr also noted additional safety improvements will be completed both bridges, and there will not be a full closure of either bridge during the construction project.

“There will be no full bridge closure We will have head-to-head traffic - since there are two lanes on bridges currently - in both directions,” he said,

Currently, the lanes on the bridges are larger than usual, and plans are to reduce the larger lane sizes so crews can work on half of the bridge and then traffic can still flow on the other half, with one lane going in each direction.

“It will be staged construction, basically - we will put traffic barrier close to middle of the bridge along the length of the bridge and traffic will be allowed to travel on the open side - east and west on the Highway 190 bridge will have to take turns, with a flagger, and will continue that way until the majority of work is done.

While work could begins early as November, Orr said that most bridge work is stopped by Dec. 1, for the winter season, so he anticipates crews will begin work on both bridges in March of 2020, completing the projects by December of the same year.

In addition to the bridge work on Highway 65, just south of the city limits, Orr said MoDOT will be, “Doing a little safety improvement on north side of 65 Bridge moving an access the city has next to pumping station further north so it is safer place to bring traffic on the highway and for traffic to turn off or onto the outer road. That will have to be done before they start the bridge work so traffic control remains workable.”

Orr said area residents can keep track of updates and any changes to the construction plans online at: https://www.modot.org/livingston-us-route-65-and-route-190-bridge-deck-repairs.