SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A bridge to let drivers cross Table Rock Lake is under development nearly two years after a decision was made to build a new bridge instead of restoring the current one.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) said there are no scheduled closures for the future Long Creek Bridge unless the old bridge needs immediate maintenance.

“The original bridge was built in 1956,” said Jason Evenden, transportation project manager with MoDOT. ” It was a 1600 foot, 22-foot wide bridge. Currently, it has 10,000 vehicles per day.”

Evenden said drivers will still use the old Long Creek Bridge for the next few years.

“December is when we’re looking at getting bids on the project,” said Evenden. “Spring 2022 is when we plan on beginning the construction and by summer 2024, we should have construction complete.”

The bridge is still in the design phase and MoDOT will be looking to hire a contractor who presents the best ideas.

“The contractors, instead of bidding on a published set of plans, will have a chance to suggest different ways to build and design the foundations prior to bidding,” said Evenden.

If roads do close due to Long Creek Bridge construction, MoDOT said drivers can look at its website to see why a road is closed.

“We will do what we can to maintain traffic flow through the duration of the project, and I don’t have any crystal ball to tell me if anything will happen, but I seriously doubt,” said Evenden.

If the bridge were to close down on Route 86 across Table Rock Lake, it could add an extra 54-mile detour for many who commute to the Branson area.