MoDOT replacing concrete on section of I-49

Debby Woodin, The Joplin Globe, Mo.
·2 min read

Apr. 6—Lanes of Interstate 49 between Interstate 44 and Route FF (32nd Street) will be temporarily closed starting this week as round-the-clock work to replace the deteriorated concrete road proceeds.

The Missouri Department of Transportation this week will first close the southbound lanes for up to 16 days for replacement of 1.4 miles of the interstate's concrete surface. After that is the done, the work will move to the northbound lanes.

Replacement work will include off- and on-ramps, said David Mitchell, spokesman for MoDOT.

To reroute traffic during the construction work, two detours will be posted.

One will move traffic onto U.S. 59 at Fidelity to Neosho and then back onto I-49. The other detour will route traffic to Range Line and south to Tipton Ford, where motorists can reconnect to I-49.

Mitchell said the work will involve replacing the existing concrete that was installed in 1994.

"This is the original concrete, and so with that and high traffic volumes, it needs to be replaced," Mitchell said, noting that the interstate is used by a large number of heavy trucks. More than 24,300 vehicles are on the route each day, he said.

Missouri began widening U.S. 71 south of Nevada into a four-lane divided highway in the 1970s as it worked to convert the highway to become part of the I-49 interstate network from Kansas City to Louisiana.

In subsequent decades, MoDOT upgraded the highway to freeway status in Barton, Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties.

The last phase of the I-49 conversion, the Bella Vista Bypass, is under construction and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30.

The bypass, also called the Interstate 49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector, will circle the west side of Bella Vista before turning east to connect with I-49 at Bentonville. It is a $70.3 million project that relocates the four-lane divided highway to the west of existing U.S. Route 71 near the state line to connect with I-49 in Arkansas.

The formal designation of I-49 in Missouri took place Dec. 12, 2012.