Barring anything unforeseen, Pleasant Street and West Ely Road at U.S. 61 will be reopened by the time people head to work or school on Friday morning.
By mid-afternoon Thursday, cleanup was being completed at the intersection along with some wiring. Yet to be undertaken at that time was the striping of lanes on both side streets and on U.S. 61, and installation of the signal “stop bars.”
Marty Lincoln, resident engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Northeast District, was hopeful that the striping crew could begin its work on Pleasant and West Ely late Thursday afternoon. The work on U.S. 61 was to take place some time in the evening.
“We can’t mess with 61 until after 6 o’clock,” he said, adding that traffic on U.S. 61 will be reduced to one lane in each direction while the painting is being completed. “We’ll be pushing all the traffic to the outside lane in each direction.”
Lincoln anticipated that the work on U.S. 61 would be finished in a couple of hours.
“I hope that by 9 or 10 tonight (Thursday) we’ll have it open and flowing,” he said. “By Friday morning motorists should be cycling through the lights.”
The installation of new turn lanes at Pleasant and West Ely is actually done ahead of schedule. According to Lincoln, the contractor, Chester Bross Construction, had 60 days to keep those two streets closed. The work has taken 45 days.
“There will still be some work to be completed once it’s open, like grass seeding, but it will be in places along the side of the road that shouldn’t impact traffic,” said Lincoln. “We’re hoping that in another couple of weeks it will all be done.”
The completion date listed on the construction contract is Monday, Oct. 15.
“We appreciate the public’s patience,” said Lincoln. “This (improvement project) should alleviate backups. Having the left-turn lanes on Pleasant and West Ely should clear a lot of traffic out.”
Another traffic-moving enhancement will be that the traffic lights on U.S. 61, where it passes beneath U.S. 36, will now be in sync with the lights at U.S. 61 and the Pleasant/West Ely intersection.