Valley Park businesses and drivers wait patiently as construction begins on I-44 

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VALLEY PARK, Mo. - If you're planning to drive on Interstate 44 in Valley Park this weekend, you may want to find an alternative route.

Crews with the Missouri Department of Transportation started construction on Friday night and the work will continue well into the weekend.

Some drivers were surprised construction didn't happen sooner, especially because it's an area that is not only known for traffic jams but also flooding.

"I don't understand why they didn't fix this a long time ago," said Josh Ratliff, who lives in Rolla. "I'm 42-years-old and I can remember it flooding 20 years ago."

Phillip Hutchings, who works in the area, said that he too knows how bad traffic can become.

"I work up the street at Cecil Whittaker's and it was a nightmare just to get to work and back," he said.

MoDOT officials said that the department is spending nearly $22 million on the work to help ease congestion that goes through the Valley Park area on Route 141. However, officials added that the work won't necessarily keep the area from flooding.

"Over all though our goal is to improve drainage and storage of water around the area to help reduce and eliminate any of that flash flooding," said department spokesman Andrew Gates.

Restaurant manager Stephen Brickler said that while the work is much needed, he's a bit worried about how it may impact his customers.

"We'll do way more advertising and social media," he said. "Just hang in there and toughen it out. We are in for the long haul but we'll still feed ya."

Crews have begun placing girders over the interstate which is part of the flyover ramp. That means sections of I-44 will be closed for about 15 minutes at a time from 11 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Saturday.

Traffic will be redirected down the ramps and back onto the interstate.

MoDOT officials also said the department isn't shutting down Route 141, but traffic signals will be blinking with a four way stop.