A bridge repair project that transportation officials warn could cause rush hour traffic delays as long as 75 minutes got underway Thursday evening with crews removing pavement markings.
Actual work on the three bridges along Interstate 470 on the east side of the Kansas City metro area begins Monday, but drivers could see the loop ramps to and from Interstate 70 and Interstate 470/Missouri 291 close as early as Friday evening and remain closed until early September.
During the next few months, crews will repair the bridges to the interchange at Interstates 470/70 and Missouri 291 and the interchange at U.S. 40 as well as over the Little Blue River, all in Independence. During the work, I-470 traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction.
The Missouri Department of Transportation warns drivers that the work will cause major traffic delays, as long as 75 minutes during rush hour. And the delays could be longer if there are any crashes.
The whole project is expected to wrap up in November.
From 8 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday, drivers should expect intermittent lane closures along northbound and southbound I-470 between East 39th Street and the Little Blue River while crews remove pavement markings.
There also will be intermittent lane closures along westbound East 39th between Viking Drive and Arrowhead Avenue.
From 8 p.m. Friday to Monday morning, drivers should expect intermittent lane closures along both directions of I-470 while they stripe the pavement and put barriers in place.
By Monday morning, crews will have closed the right lanes of I-470 in both directions between 39th and the Little Blue River. The lanes will remain closed until early September.
Here are the suggested detours while the loop ramps are closed:
▪ From westbound I-70 to southbound I-470: Drivers are to take the ramp for northbound Missouri 291. Exit at 39th Street and make a U-turn to get back onto southbound I-470.
▪ From eastbound I-70 to northbound Missouri 291: Drivers should continue east on I-70 to the Little Blue Parkway exit and return on westbound I-70. They then should take the northbound Missouri 291 exit.
▪ From northbound I-470 to westbound I-70: Drivers are to exit at 39th and make a U-turn to get back onto southbound I-470. They then should take the exit to westbound I-70.
▪ From southbound Missouri 291 to eastbound I-70: Drivers should exit onto westbound I-70 and go to the Lee’s Summit Road exit. They then should return on eastbound I-70.
Drivers are being encouraged to avoid the area if possible. Those traveling through the construction should plan ahead and allow plenty of time to reach their destinations.
Drivers also are encouraged to use the zipper merge, a process were they use both lanes while waiting to merge until the last minute. At the merge point, they take turns merging.