Most of the 22 area residents who attended an information meeting at St. Vincent’s Community Center in Dutzow Monday on the replacement of the Highway 47 bridge at Lake Creek had the same question.

How will they be inconvenienced by the project?

Missouri Department of Transportation Project Manager Christopher Knapp was on hand to allay their concerns.

Knapp said the traffic flow should be normal during the construction with the exception of rush-hour traffic. During peak times motorists may experience delays as long as 10 minutes, he said.

“We encourage motorists to rearrange their schedules to reduce congestion,” said Knapp.

Work on the bridge is expected to begin in the spring of 2014 and be completed by Oct. 1. While the contract calls for completion by Oct. 1, it contains a financial incentive and liquidated damages to encourage early completion to minimize the inconvenience for drivers and area businesses. MoDOT will place message boards on Highway 47 to update motorists on the project.

MoDOT Area Engineer Erik Maninga said that despite the short-term inconvenience experienced with slower speeds and potential delays, the project is a “long-term investment for the area.”

The new bridge will be built in two stages and during construction, one lane will be open and controlled by temporary signals, Knapp said. There will also be some temporary lane closures using flaggers before and after bridge construction to repair shoulders and resurface the Highway 47 and Highway 94 intersection. These closures will occur during nighttime hours.

The new bridge will feature a 40-foot-wide roadway with 12-foot lanes, 8-foot shoulders, and will be 138 feet long. The existing bridge, built in 1933, is only 26 feet wide and 113 feet long.

Marthasville Fire Chief Jeff Backhaus showed up to find out how emergency vehicles will be impacted by the construction. Backhaus said he did not want to see a repeat of the Tuque Creek bridge replacement.

“That was horrible,” he said.

Construction of the Tuque Creek bridge replacement, which occurred in the winter of 2011-2012, saw both lanes of traffic closed. The work was complicated by flooding, said Knapp.

The Lake Creek bridge project is estimated to cost $1.1 million, Knapp said.

MoDOT staff were on hand to answer questions. Those unable to attend the meeting, but would like more information about the project can call MoDOT customer service toll-free at 1-888-275-6636.