MoDOT engineers have shifted gears and now are looking to keep traffic flowing on U.S. 61 during construction of an Interstate 55 interchange between Cape Girardeau and Jackson. MoDOT officials met Friday with representatives of Cape Girardeau and Jackson, and the Southeast Missouri Metropolitan Planning Organization at the state highway office in Jackson. MoDOT announced earlier this month it might close U.S. 61 at center junction for seven months next year, forcing about 20,000 motorists a day to find alternate routes to their destinations. Local government leaders strongly objected to the proposal. Closing U.S. 61 during construction was viewed by MoDOT staff as a way to reduce costs for the project. MoDOT’s Jason Williams, who is managing the project, said the agency is now looking at keeping one lane of traffic open in each direction on U.S. 61 during construction. That plan would require some of the I-55 ramps to be closed during construction. You can read more in the Southeast Missourian.