Well-traveled bridge closing - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Well-traveled bridge closing

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A car travels across the Missouri 168 bridge over US 61 A car travels across the Missouri 168 bridge over US 61
PALMYRA, Mo. (WGEM) -

The Missouri Route 168 bridge over U.S. Highway 61 is falling apart and needs to be replaced, according to MoDOT.  Crews plan to close the bridge Tuesday at noon so a MoDOT contractor can replace it.

MoDOT Assistant District Engineer Kevin James said this will give them the opportunity to make the intersection safer. They'll be adding an acceleration lane on northbound 61 so that vehicles can get up to speed before having to merge onto the highway.

"This is going to be replacing a bridge that's poor." James said, "So, when we try to schedule those and prioritize the needs throughout the district, it's important to try to make progress.  This bridge has been in place for several years. It's served its service life for the bridge, and now we need to replace it to get a good bridge that's going to be safe and reliable for many years to come."

If you typically use the 168 bridge, you'll now have to use Highway 61 to get around it.  MoDOT said the exits will stay open during the project.

Local driver David Hastings believed the acceleration lane will help.

"I'm glad to see them put more of an accelerator lane on there because that was a pretty dangerous exit trying to get off there." he said, "There's been some accidents there. But we'll get around it for a couple of days. Just kind of go that different way and go through Hannibal and go around so it's not a problem to go see my mother-in-law and go do stuff over in Quincy."

Hastings added that he's happy to see a safer intersection for both local traffic and truck drivers that have a hard time accelerating on to U.S. 61.

MoDOT will close down U.S. 61 completely for 24 hours starting Sunday at 1 a.m. That's so crews can demolish the 168 bridge. MoDOT said the quickest way around that will be to cross over into Illinois at Hannibal and Quincy. The bridge is set to reopen in November.    

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