By Wally Kennedy
Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Range Line Road will be closed at Interstate 44 for much of the upcoming weekend, and that’s not sitting well with at least one business owner on South Range Line Road.
Marty Wheelen, owner of Wheelen RV Center, 4301 S. Range Line Road, said recently that work to reconstruct the interchange has had a negative effect on his business and others south of the recreational vehicle center.
“We feel that the basic congestion from the work so far has had about a 30 percent to 40 percent negative impact on traffic flow since the beginning of the process last year,” Wheelen said.
“One weekend of the interchange and Range Line Road being closed will definitely hurt our business during one of the busiest months of our selling season,’’ he said. “This will be very detrimental to our business to have Range Line Road closed to traffic for a weekend.”
Wheelen said he’s thinking about closing his business for the day on Saturday since he does not believe potential customers will be able to navigate around the construction zone to get there.
Despite the closings over the weekend, the Missouri Department of Transportation said drivers will be able to reach businesses on Range Line Road on either side of Interstate 44. According to a statement released Friday by MoDOT, motorists will find it will take a few minutes longer than usual to arrive at those destinations.
Range Line Road will be closed to traffic starting at midmorning on Saturday. It will reopen to traffic late Sunday or early Monday — 6 a.m. at the latest.
The ramps connecting Range Line Road and Interstate 44 also will be closed at various times between 9 a.m. Thursday and some time Sunday as the work progresses through the weekend.
Contractor crews have many tasks to perform during the closing — pave ramps, build islands, install signs, apply pavement markings and set up new traffic signals.
When Range Line Road is reopened to traffic, it will be in its new diverging diamond interchange configuration, MoDOT said.
The contractor on the $8 million project is Emery Sapp & Sons, of Columbia. Completion is expected in December.
Old bridge to come down
Jasper County Route O at the Spring River south of Alba is scheduled to close today to allow contractor crews to replace an aging bridge there.
The Missouri Department of Transportation said the bridge, constructed in 1935, could remain closed until late October or early November. Once contractor crews close the bridge, crews have 90 calendar days to complete the project and reopen the bridge to traffic.
During the work, drivers will have to find alternate routes around the closing. No official detour will be marked by signs. However, drivers can use Jasper County Route D, Route M and Highway 43 to get around the closing.
The contractor is Hartman Construction, of Springfield. The construction cost is $708,000.