MARYVILLE, Mo. — Community members flocked to the Northwest Missouri Regional Airport on Tuesday evening to hear about the proposed repairs to four bridges along State Highway 46.

Part of Governor Mike Parson’s push for infrastructure repairs, the four bridges between Maryville and State Highway 113, are set to be replaced. The four bridges, from west to east, to be replaced will be Stream Bridge, Florida Creek Bridge, the bridge over Big Slu and White Cloud Creek, which is nearest Maryville.

From first responders and Nodaway County Ambulance Director of Operations Bill Florea to local farmers and Nodaway County Commissioner Bill Walker, people from all walks of life were on hand at the public information open house hosted by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

While still in the planning stage, members from two design firms, Horner & Shifrin out of St. Louis and Tetra Tech out of Kansas City, were on hand to discuss in detail the project plans. Each is designing two sets of bridges, but the package will be completed together to help with timing and to shorten the construction period.

Horner & Shifrin has designed the replacement of the bridges over Big Slu and White Cloud creeks. Tetra Tech has designed the replacement of bridges over Florida Creek and Stream.

Though each group agreed they didn’t run into anything too difficult in the designs, they did have to account for utilities, such as power poles as well as fiber internet and water lines.

Horner & Shifrin representatives said they did create a wider slope to the north and south of the bridge to help with any future accidents or wrecks in the area.

Other community members voiced concerns ranging from the time period the highway will be closed and detour routes to the width of the highway and whether or not the roads also will be repaired during that time.

Joyce Reynolds, project manager with MoDOT, answered some of those questions including that the two bridges over Big Slu and White Cloud Creek will both return to two lanes and that the road itself there will be widened to 24 feet along wider banks to help with any accidental slide offs or wrecks.

A local resident came in seeking more information and said she remembered when it was two lanes before in the 1970s, but that it was definitely too narrow to fit both lanes.

“We can’t wait for it to be done,” she said.

The proposed signed detour is over State Route 113 and U.S. Highway 71, while local traffic may plan to use State Route AB between the bridges.

Reynolds said the plan takes into consideration the fact that the Nodaway Nursing Home is in between the two sets of bridges along with several access points for farmers.

She explained that Highway 46 will be closed during the entirety of the project, but that the plan is to close two of the four bridges at a time, one on each of the two sets of bridges. This will allow landowners continual access to the detour on State Route AB. 

Local landowner and former farmer Jim Cox, was on hand asking questions for his tenant farmer Mace Coston, who arrived later to learn about the project. 

Cox said the project will directly affect Coston, who was concerned with how long the road will be closed and how it will relate to harvest season in 2020.

Reynolds said there isn’t a set timeline yet, but that the project letting is set for December 2019. The goal is to keep it to one construction season by Dec. 1, 2020; however, it will depend on the contractors’ timelines and whether or not they want to work in the cold.

“You can kind of get along in planting season, but harvest season is a whole other story,” Cox said. “My concern is for us getting our business taken care of.”

Cox said his questions were answered at the open house and he’s happy for the project to begin.

“It’s been five years, they’ve been saying this was going to happen,” he exclaimed. He also asked if there would be any road work completed at the same time since the roads are “crumbling at the edges.”

Both groups of design firms said that road work wasn’t included in the project.

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