HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Contractors were completing some of the final work on McMasters Avenue through Hannibal on Thursday and two other major highway projects are making progress in Marion and Pike counties.
Martin Lincoln, a resident engineer overseeing the Marion County project for the Missouri Department of Transportation, said work on U.S. 61 and U.S. 24 from Hannibal to West Quincy has gone well. Emery Sapp and Sons out of Columbia is the prime contractor. Project cost is about $6.8 million and the completion date was originally planned for Nov. 1.
"They're ahead of that and are scheduled to be done by early to mid-October depending on weather," Lincoln said.
Construction crews have been repairing joints in the road for a few months, putting guardrails around bridges and steep embankments.
"What they're doing now is milling up the old surface, taking it down 1.75 inches and then they're putting down a new layer of asphalt 1.75 inches thick," Lincoln said.
All four lanes of the highway and the shoulders will get new asphalt by the end of the project. The new driving surface extends from near West Quincy to the north edge of Hannibal. Then next year the U.S. 61 upgrade will begin from the south edge of Palmyra to the north edge of Hannibal.
Lincoln said another major project is underway on U.S. 54 from Louisiana, Mo., to the junction of U.S. 54 and Mo. 19. McGruder Construction from Troy has that contract for nearly $9.9 million of work that should be complete by late August or early September.
The Marion County project involves about 64,000 tons of asphalt. The one in Pike County involves a little more than 100,000 tons of asphalt.
There have been no major traffic mishaps on the projects, but some drivers have gotten on the wrong side of construction cones.
"We keep using the motto ‘Buckle up, phone down,'" Lincoln said.
Later this year there will be some work around the U.S. 36 bypass at Monroe City.
In addition to the high-traffic routes, MoDOT has been doing some chip seal work to help maintain lower volume roads.
Chip seals are about one third the cost of a conventional asphalt overlay, averaging $15,000 per mile, as compared to an estimated $55,000 per mile for an asphalt overlay. Chip seals help keep water from penetrating paved surfaces where it would cause damage. The process extends the life of the pavement for an additional five to seven years. Chip sealing also provides crack sealing and improved traction.
The work includes spraying a heated film of asphalt liquid on the road, followed by placing fine rocks or chips on top. The chips are then compacted to make them adhere to the road. Finally, the excess loose chips are swept from the surface, leaving an improved road that will hold up longer than it would have without the treatment.