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Emergency repairs to be made to Rocheport bridge

The Missouri Department of Transportation will make emergency repairs to the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 at the Missouri River Bridge near Rocheport starting Saturday.

The repairs will start at 7 p.m. Saturday, and crews work 24 hours a day on the repairs until they are complete. The work is expected to last through May 8. Speed limits will be reduced to 45 mph while the work is being completed.

Emergency Repairs to Close Eastbound Lane of I-70 at Rocheport Bridge Starting Saturday.

Crews will be working to fix an expansion joint on the bridge. The project is expected to take several days.

The full press release is available here:

— MoDOT Central Dist (@MoDOT_Central) May 1, 2019

“We have an expansion joint on the bridge that’s failing,” MoDOT Central District Engineer David Silvester said. “It hasn’t failed yet, but it’s in the process of failing and we need to catch it before it does.”

Expansion joints allow the bridge to expand and contract, Silvester said. Similar repairs were made to a different expansion joint on the same bridge in March 2017. MoDOT officials say these joint breakdowns are the result of wear and tear on the aging bridge, but that the bridge is still safe for travel as crews make the repairs.

“We expect to be open by Wednesday night,” Silvester said. “That’s about what it took in March a couple of years ago when we did the other one.”

Silvester said work on expansion joints will be included in the rehabilitation project that will take place in 2020, but this particular joint couldn’t wait that long.

“What we experience here in the next few days is a little bit what we’re going to experience when we do the rehabilitation project next summer,” Silvester said. “It will be very similar in what we experience with the backups and the one-lane restrictions.”

Silvester said drivers should consider using alternate routes like Route 50 or Route 36 because traffic backups could extend 7 or 8 miles.

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