MoDOT says Chestnut Expressway under Highway 65 will be closed starting Friday night until Monday morning for the final conversion. New concrete islands will be built, new signs installed and the pavement re-striped.
Other closings will be in place this weekend that will affect traffic.
MoDOT released the following details as a heads-up to drivers:
Springfield, Greene County -- Major changes at Chestnut Expressway and Route 65 are coming this week, and drivers are urged to be prepared for weekend traffic disruptions as well as permanent changes at the interchange.
1. New Diverging Diamond Interchange. Chestnut Expressway is scheduled to be CLOSED underneath Route 65 at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, and could remain closed until 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 12, the Missouri Department of Transportation said.
The weekend closing is needed to enable contractor crews to make the final conversion of Chestnut Expressway to a Diverging Diamond Interchange configuration. New concrete islands will be built, new signs installed and the pavement re-striped.
As a Diverging Diamond Interchange, traffic on Chestnut Expressway will be shifted onto the left-hand side of the road at a traffic signal. That will make it easier and safer to turn left onto Route 65 without having to cross in front of oncoming traffic. Through traffic on Chestnut Expressway will flow smoother as well.
Also closed for the weekend:
* The northbound Route 65 off-ramp and the northbound Route 65 on-ramp both will be closed.
* Eastgate Avenue at Cherry Street and Eastgate Avenue at the Springfield Public Schools' Natatorium will be closed.
* Farm Road 132 will be closed at Farm Road 193.
The two southbound ramps at the interchange will be open most of the weekend, except for short periods of time when one or the other will be closed.
Drivers using the southbound Route 65 off-ramp willl have to turn right (west) onto Chestnut Expressway. Drivers on eastbound Chestnut Expressway will have to turn right (south) onto the southbound Route 65 on-ramp.
2. Railroad Crossing Repair. The railroad crossing on Chestnut Expressway west of Route 65 will be CLOSED at 6 a.m. Saturday until 6 p.m. Sunday to enable the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad to repair the crossing.
MoDOT worked with BNSF to have the crossing closed the same weekend as the interchange conversion. That way the traffic disruption on Chestnut Expressway will be limited to just one weekend.
However, this means for up to 18 hours over the weekend, the only access to and from the short segment of Chestnut Expressway between Route 65 and the railroad tracks, where a number of businesses are located, will be from southbound Route 65 or from Ingram Mill Road. That portion of Ingram Mill Road runs between Chestnut Expressway and Cherry Street to the south.
Drivers on northbound Route 65 will have to use the Sunshine Street exit and various city streets to reach Ingram Mill Road or use the Division Street exit and turn south on Route 65 to Chestnut Expressway.
Drivers on westbound Chestnut Expressway (Farm Road 132) approaching Route 65 will be able to turn north only -- onto Eastgate Avenue or Route 65.
To reach the area west of the railroad tracks, drivers will have to use various city streets that connect to Chestnut Expressway, and that includes Glenstone Avenue.
3. Concrete Median. Starting Thursday, Nov. 8, a permanent concrete median will be built on Chestnut Expressway across its intersection with Eastgate Avenue east of Route 65.
That means drivers on Eastgate Avenue will no longer be able to drive straight across Chestnut Expressway or make left turns onto Chestnut Expressway. And drivers on Chestnut Expressway will no longer be able to make a left turn onto Eastgate Avenue.
However, Chestnut Expressway is being built wide enough east of Eastgate Avenue to enable drivers to make a U-turn. A U-turn is permitted at that location, near the former Hickory Hills school entrance, as long as drivers yield to oncoming traffic before turning around.
Adding the concrete median is necessary to make the rebuilt interchange function in its new configuration as a Diverging Diamond Interchange. A project to relocate Eastgate Avenue to the east side of the former Hickory Hills school is being planned.
Final Configuration. When the work is completed by Monday morning, Chestnut Expressway will be in a Diverging Diamond Interchange configuration, with a median across Eastgate Avenue. And the railroad crossing will be repaired, with a smoother ride.