By Jeff Lehr
Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Crews will be blasting on Tuesday and Thursday of this week in connection with construction of a new exit ramp for Interstate 44 at Hearnes Boulevard.
The Missouri Department of Transportation and McCarthy Construction announced through the Joplin Police Department that the blasting will consist of single detonations on Tuesday and Thursday between the hours of 8 and 9 a.m.
Police Cpl. Dan Haskins said that because crews cannot be certain of exact times for each blast, traffic will be stopped for about 15 to 20 minutes each day on Hearnes Boulevard, 50th Street and Glendale Road. Traffic in both directions on I-44 will be slowed near the exit but not stopped, he said.
The blasting is needed to break up rock along the projected course of the new eastbound off ramp for I-44. The exit ramp project is part of a realignment of streets in the area to suit the new Mercy Hospital Joplin that is under construction there.
“We don’t expect there to be any debris,” Haskins said of the blasting. “But there is a chance some rock could get outside the detonation area.”
Police are asking that drivers be mindful of delays and be cautious driving in the area with extensive road work under way and construction workers present.
McCarthy Construction is the primary contractor for the new hospital.