ST. CHARLES, Mo. – In St. Charles, work has begun on a three-month project to replace portions of Zumbehl Road.

Crumbling storm drains and cracked roadways have pushed the City of St. Charles to revamp the Zumbehl bridge to fix a long-overdue problem.

In March 2018, MoDOT gave the bridge a score of 49.6%, but bigger, concrete culverts will help fix years of erosion. The $5.6 million project will upgrade the bridge and the storm drains, which have been falling apart since the 1980s.

“This bridge is now considered structurally deficient, so it’s not structurally suitable for Zumbehl Road going over it,” said Dan Mann, head of engineering for the City of St. Charles. “It’s one of St. Charles’s largest roads.”

Bommarito Automotive Group SkyFOX shows the beginning of construction along Zumbehl in St. Charles.

“The concrete surface is actually smoother, and it helps convey water than the pipes now have ridges in it,” Mann said.

The first phase of the construction is already done, with the metal storm drain already ripped out. Making way for crews to work on the storm drains with new sturdier material.

Starting as early as Wednesday, the street will be closed to traffic, and work will begin to replace the bridge, and the sidewalk, and create a new 10-foot-wide walking and bike path.

The project was intentionally scheduled for the summer to allow for the cold water creek water levels to lower and not interfere with nearby shopping centers during their holiday seasons.

What would have been a 200-day project has been reduced to 75 instead. However, drivers are still concerned, now rerouted to regency parkway adding two minutes.

“A lot of customers have come in asking about the construction. It seems like the closures will be at the end of this road,” said Margaret Wilkson, an employee at the shopping plaza. “So it won’t affect people coming in, but there is a lot of confusion.”

“It’s going to be a big challenge because it cuts off an important lane to get into Highway I-70,” said Ginger Collier, a St. Charles resident. “In addition, they’re making repairs to Highway 70 and changes to the interchange that’ll make it even more complicated situation.”

“It’s going to cause a lot of traffic, and I might not want to come out here because of that,” said Jennifer Slate, a customer at the shopping plaza.

The hope is that the upgrades will make the structure not only last longer, but also improve traffic before the end of summer.