Realizing the growth taking place in and around Joplin, Missouri, MoDOT partnered with Benesch to design a new I-44 bridge. The interchange, situated along the City’s southern corridor, was considered inadequate for future needs. Narrow lane widths, substandard vertical clearances, and increased turning movements resulted in a congested site. These issues in conjunction with structural deficiencies attributed to over 50 years of service life, demonstrated to MoDOT that a replacement structure was warranted.
The high traffic volumes utilizing I-44 and 71B, MoDOT required two lanes of traffic along both routes remain open during construction. Further restrictions included maintaining access along existing on and off ramps. The result was a new wider bridge to be constructed inside the existing interchange footprint. This ultimately required a six-phase staged construction, beginning in the median between the existing twin bridges and building outward. Construction stages were developed to maintain necessary lanes widths and avoid existing substructure elements.
In the end, project success was due to a comprehensive approach. Our team took the initiative to coordinate between multiple parties to facilitate an otherwise complicated project. Construction savings were found by evaluating bridge alternatives along with their roadway impacts. This project was delivered ahead of schedule (less than four months) and under budget.