COLUMBIA, Mo. - While you might have the "detour blues" after the latest construction on the Route B bridge over Business Loop 70, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) told ABC 17 there's good news.
This specific road construction project is the first of its kind in Missouri. Not only will the new bridge take just two months to build instead of the typical six, but it also poses safer conditions for those building it.
Jen Harper, Organizational Performance Engineer with MODOT, told ABC 17 that once engineers perfect this construction process, it will save the state thousands of dollars on bridge projects and speed up the detour process during construction.
This new bridge uses a geosynthetic reinforced soil (GSR) to build layers that support the bridge. This alternative saved MODOT roughly $100,000 and has a life span of 100 years, according to Harper.
The process is inexpensive because it uses simple machinery, is less dependent on weather conditions and is much easier to maintain among several other benefits.
"You don't have as much structural steel that can rust, [or] that can degrade," Harper said. "You don't have as many parts. When you have less parts, you have less things that can go wrong."
Despite the convenience, GSR bridges will not be replacing all bridges in Missouri. Harper said to build the bridge requires the right soil conditions and the right location.
"It is something that, when we look at a new bridge at this point, we're going to look at this option and see would this be cost effective for this location," Harper said.
The Route B bridge's location cost them more than the average GSR bridge. That's because workers will have to work around several power lines and heavy traffic from Business Loop 70. The entire project cost $800,000. An average GSR bridge creates savings anywhere from 20 to 60 percent.
MODOT posted a time lapse camera at the construction scene. Anyone can watch the bridge construction as it progresses by going to the MODOT website.
The project is expected to wrap up mid-September. Demolition of the bridge begins Friday night. Business Loop 70 will reopen underneath the bridge on Monday.