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Friday, May 6, 2016

Highway 37 work to pick up pace in July

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Construction and maintenance work on Highway 37, south of Highway 60 in Monett to the Arkansas border, will progress rapidly in the coming weeks. In addition, a major overlay has been scheduled from Monett's North Park west to Sarcoxie.

According to Angela Eden, community relations specialist for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), mainline paving for the Highway 37 South project was expected to be finished by the end of June. Crews for APAC Missouri would be concentrating on remaining work between Washburn and Seligman.

Crews this week will concentrate on paving shoulders from Washburn south, and any incompleted shoulder work north of Washburn. Eden said there would still be some lane closings.

"When talking to the construction engineer," Eden said, "APAC is trying to have all the paving done and the heavy lifting on the project by the end of July. Striping, guardrail installation and erecting road signs will be all that's left, particularly from Washburn to Seligman."

The resurfacing project covered the section of Highway 37 from Highway 60 to the city limits that had undergone major rebuilding in the last four years. Eden said the latest work enhances, rather than replaces, the previous paving effort.

"Highway 37 is considered a major route in the southwest district," Eden said. "We have a pavement management plan where we address our major roadways on a five to seven year paving cycle. The last thing we want to do is allow major routes to fall into disrepair and then have to resurface them, rather than do it on a cycle."

The previous resurfacing added about three and three-quarters of asphalt to the roadway. Eden called the current work "thin lift resurfacing."

"We did some work on Highway 249 at the Range Line bypass in Joplin recently and heard people asking the same question," Eden said. "People didn't realize the new pavement had been down a little longer than they realized and it came up on the cycle. We're doing the same thing on Interstate 44 in Lawrence County this summer."

A second project will get underway on July 11 on Highway 37 west of Monett. Eden said crews will be covering the roadway with a chip and seal surface from Monett's North Park to the Business 44 loop in Sarcoxie. Chip-sealing is a rock and oil mixture applied to the road surface that makes the road water tight, thus preventing water from freezing in cracks and breaking up the pavement.

"We're sealing the pavement so we don't see any more deterioration," Eden said. "People think chip-sealing is a replacement for resurfacing. It isn't. It helps with the cracks. Weather is the number one enemy for pavement when water gets into the cracks."

MoDOT crews will be spreading a thin layer of liquid asphalt, then placing rock on the wearing surface. Unlike the Highway 37 South work, the chip-seal process will involve closing both lanes of traffic. Crews will resurface a section, roll down the rock to embed it into the oil then sweep up the remaining loose rock.

Crews will do entire sections at a time, then move on. Eden said motorists should expect delays of up to 20 minutes each time work starts on a new section. Some parking areas in downtown Pierce City will be blocked off in the process, as well as some side streets.

The entire resurfacing effort from Monett to Sarcoxie is expected to be finished in two days, on July 11 and July 12, depending on the weather. Eden said MoDOT will use a special broom going through Pierce City to minimize the amount of dust and loose rock spread in the business district.

Similar maintenance work will be done in Barry County on Highways C and EE between Highways 39 and 76 on the northeast side of the county.

"Heat becomes a factor when laying concrete," Eden said. "I know people are really sweltering. For us, this is perfect construction and maintenance season. With the weather being hot and dry, the emulsion liquid asphalt cures out very quickly.

"It's just very hot for workers and contractors," Eden added. "Our folks are cycling in for each other, like firemen. We're encouraging them to emphasize hydration, use sun screen and take frequent breaks."

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