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I -44 to Close at West Bypass

Image courtesy of MODOT
Image courtesy of MODOT

The replacement of the West Bypass Bridge over Interstate 44 in Springfield continues Friday evening. Beginning at 10 p.m., crews with the Missouri Department of Transportation will close the section of interstate, which will remain closed until as late as 6 p.m. Saturday. KSMU’s Shannon Bowers has the details.

Starting Thursday afternoon, MODOT will begin to shift northbound traffic over to the newly completed east side of the West Bypass Bridge, which was torn down in September.

During the 20 hour period that both West Bypass and I-44 are closed, MODOT recommends that you avoid the area altogether. However, they’re aware it may not be that easy.

A couple of detours will be setup to guide motorists around the construction.

Drivers using West Bypass will not be able to cross over I-44 but will be directed to the I-44 ramps. But Angela Eden, a representative with MODOT, urges drivers to use detour around Springfield’s south side to avoid delays.  

 “So driver on interstate I-44 will be going up and over the ramps on the interchange to go up and on their way. But we want to cautions folks that if there is a lot of traffic on the interstate those ramps will get very backed up,” said Eden.

In addition to replacing the West Bypass Bridge over I-44, MODOT will be adding a new traffic signal on the south end of the bridge and update the existing signal at the north end.

The project is set for completion by late May.

For KSMU News, I’m Shannon Bowers.

Detour Information courtesy of MODOT:

1. People driving through Springfield on I-44 will be urged to detour to the south of town -- westbound I-44 traffic along Route 65 (at I-44 Mile Marker 82), Route 60 and Route 360 (at I-44 Mile Marker 69) and eastbound I-44 traffic along Route 360 (at I-44 Mile Marker 69), Route 60 and Route 65 (at I-44 Mile Marker 82).

While the ramps at the I-44/West Bypass interchange will remain open, drivers are urged to use the detour around Springfield's south side to avoid delays that could develop on the ramps.

Electronic message signs along I-44 will carry that advisory.

Big trucks especially are being urged to use the Route 65-60-360 alternate route.

2. Drivers using Route 160/West Bypass will not be able to cross over I-44 but will be directed onto the I-44 ramps:

* If northbound heading toward Willard, turn east on I-44 or Kearney Street to Kansas Expressway or west on Kearney Street to the westbound I-44 on-ramp.

* If southbound heading toward Springfield, turn west onto I-44 and use another interchange to turn around and travel back toward Springfield.

3. Or stay completely away from the I-44/West Bypass interchange and travel another way. Other state routes and county roads and city streets can be used to avoid the construction area.