Missouri Department of Transportation crews are close to finishing replacing culvert pipes along the first half of the Highway A improvement project.

Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer, said there are two more culvert pipes to be replaced along the section between Union and Highway YY at Krakow.

“After that we will try to begin culvert replacement work from Krakow to Washington,” Wagner said. There are seven pipes along that section.

The work involves closing both lanes of the highway at points where culvert pipes under the highway are excavated and replaced with new pipes.

Motorists need to plan on making detours, as crews will be completely closing the highway where work is being done.

MoDOT encourages drivers to use Highway 47 as an alternate route during this preliminary construction work.

Meanwhile, N.B. West Contracting Company, the contractor, has started preliminary work on the improvement project.

Wagner said the contractor plans to begin work next week on replacing driveway culverts and ditch work starting at Union and heading north.

Wagner anticipates that it will take two construction seasons to complete improvements along the 7.2-mile stretch of highway.

The first segment, from Union, just north of the Independence Drive intersection, to Highway YY at Krakow is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

The second phase, from Route YY to the Washington city limits is slated to be finished by early October 2015.

Wagner said under the contract, the contractor must complete paving and shoulder work on the first phase by October.

The project will include adding 2-foot shoulders, resurfacing the highway from just north of Independence Drive in Union to Chamber Drive at Washington and make other safety improvements, including adding guardrails in certain areas and improved stormwater drainage facilities.

The project also will include adding interactive speed limit signs along Highway A near the Highway YY intersection at Krakow. The signs will show the speed limit and below that will be an indicator that displays an approaching vehicle’s actual speed.

The purpose is to alert drivers to slow down as they approach the intersection, which is highly congested at times.

The signs likely will be installed near the end of the project, Wagner said.

The current 11-foot-wide driving lanes will be maintained but resurfaced and the shoulders will be added. There are three areas along the route where curves will be improved.

The West firm was awarded the contract on a low bid of $2,408,357.26.

There were five bidders on the project and all came in under the $3,965,000 allocated for construction in the 2014-2018 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).