A Cole County bridge replacement is wrapping up just in time for crews to make major improvements along Highway 50, starting next week.
The Liberty Road Bridge will be used as a detour during part of the work on the highway.
The new bridge was reopened to traffic last month, and crews are completing some of the finishing touches along the sides before the week is over.
The former bridge would not have been able to handle large amounts of traffic because it was only one lane, according to Cole County Public Works.
“If you’re coming from the west going eastbound, you kind of go around a curve and the bridge is right there on you,” Cole County Engineer Eric Landwehr said. “So … if you increase traffic by three or four times, then definitely (that would have been) something to be concerned about.”
But that is no longer the case, with plenty of room to handle two lanes of traffic.
Monday, MoDOT crews will start work on a project to resurface Highway 50 and improve the Liberty Road/Shamrock Road intersection.
MoDOT said it will be necessary to shut down the highway intersection for part of the project, routing traffic to Liberty Road and the new bridge. You can find out more about that project here.
Once that work is done in July, crews will then replace the Route J/M bridge at the Taos Exit, sending more traffic to Liberty Road.
“We think it’s going to change traffic patterns in the area,” Landwehr said. “And it’ll be safer, definitely, at Shamrock and Troop F when that’s done. With Route J being closed and everything all going on, it’ll be a lot busier down through there.”
The Route J/M bridge is set to be completed this fall. You can find out more about that project here.
The Liberty Road bridge cost about $420,000 to replace, according to Landwehr.