Champ Clark bridge repair schedule released

Tentative repair dates for the Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana have been announced.

According to MoDOT, closing the bridge is necessary to permanently fix the damage from a fatality accident in December.

This Friday, March 9 traffic will be reduced to one lane with a 10 ft. width restriction from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for inspections and (measuring) calculations for the upcoming repairs.

On Monday, April 23 the main part of the work will begin as contractor Halverson Construction start preparation work, but drivers will still be able to use the bridge through Friday, April 27 at 6 p.m.

On the 27th at that time, the bridge will be completely shut down for one week until Friday, May 4 and drivers will need to find an alternative route in and out of town.

"The contractors tentatively plans to open the bridge to one lane traffic sooner than planned, if possible, and complete the remainder of the work with one lane traffic on the bridge," said Marty Lincoln, MoDOT resident engineer. "For worker safety and to speed up repairs it is necessary to close the bridge. However, crews will be working 8 hour shifts around the clock to finish the repairs and open the bridge to one lane traffic ahead of schedule," he added.

The repairs include the removal and replacement of rivets, installation of temporary supports, and delivery of structural steel along with other miscellaneous items needed to repair the damage from the accident on the bridge in December.

Message boards will be placed alerting motorists of the upcoming closure. "We are working with the Illinois Department of Transportation, city and county officials, emergency responders and local media as we plan for the repairs," Lincoln explained.

The two-lane truss is one of the oldest ones between Minnesota and Tennessee that's still used by vehicles.

MoDOT says it is looking at options to replace it in the future.

Meanwhile, the repairs are expected to take up to two months.