Be cautious when crossing SK bridge work zone

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) encourages local drivers to obey the temporary traffic signals operating around the clock on the Shell Knob bridge, which is currently undergoing major repairs.

In order to allow one lane to remain open to traffice, crews will complete repair work on one half of the bridge at a a time. Traffic must alternate one direction and then the other during the project. Temporary signals located at each end of the bridge will direct traffic through the work zone.

The signals are set on a fixed-timing plan, which will require drivers to wait up to five or six minutes before crossing the bridge during the day or night.

If a driver goes through a red light on one side of the bridge, he or she could meet a vehicle coming from the opposite direction causing a head-on crash. Even if no crash occurs, neither vehicle will be able to move out of the lane, and one vehicle will be forced to back up, which could block traffic or cause a secondary crash.

MoDOT offers the following tips to help drivers travel through the work zone safely:

* Obey the temporary signals.

* In order for the signal's detection system to be triggered, the first car in line should stop at the stop bar, which lines up with the "Stop Here on Red" sign.

* Proceed across the bridge only after the signal turns green.

* Cross over the stop bar before pulling into the oncoming lane to ensure the detection system knows the vehicle is driving on the bridge.

* Drive at 30 miles per hour, which is the work zone speed limit.

* Consider using another route across the lake when pulling a trailer with a boat or camper or driving a tractor trailer rig. The open driving lane is only 9 feet wide.

* Avoid cell phone use and other

distractions while crossing the bridge where vehicles are traveling very close to workers and equipment.

No permits for over-sized loads will be given for the bridge on Highway 39 in Shell Knob while the repair project is being completed. Work is scheduled to be finished before the Memorial Day holiday in 2013.

Phillips Grading and Construciton, of Boonville, is serving as contractor for the $5.4 million project.

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