Ask the Road Crew

Ask the Road Crew

Is your route to work giving you a headache because of potholes, poorly timed lights or street construction? Let the experts know, and ask them your questions about highways and roads. The live chat starts at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15.

    A general question for MODOT - I know a lot effort went into strengthening the double- deck portion of 40/64, to withstand earthquakes. I was wondering if the flyover ramps on 270 (at 170, 70, 64, 44 & 55) will need similar work? Thanks!
    The big concern with the double deck structure is that the top structure would fall onto the lower one in an earthquake, similar to what happened in San Francisco in the late 1980s.  That was the retrofitting effort that we did on the structure in the downtown area. We do consider earthquakes when designing and constructing flyovers.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    MoDot can’t show some lets go Blues love on their boards? How about “Their are Sharks in the area, buckle up”
    We are unable to do any type of advertising on the overhead message boards -- and that could be construed as advertising.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    SoCoRoads -- the switch to move traffic from eastbound I-44 to the new westbound bridge will happen later this summer -- river levels and weather contributed to delays in construction. We do expect to demo the bridge from westbound Watson Road over I-44 the weekend after Memorial Day.   I left your question up to allow the county to answer the other portion. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    As I drive West on I44 from downtown I enter the construction zone at Grand. Everyone seems to merge into the two lanes with no difficulty. We then proceed along at a decent clip until Hampton where it opens back up to four lanes. we go about a half a mile then the Shrewsbury jam starts. Its a mess. Have you ever considered a continuation of the two lane drop all the way out past that construction zone. Just wondering if the chute should not be kept closed?
    We have considered it, however, we are looking at all lanes being open near Shrewsbury by mid-July. It's a pretty long stretch to have restricted with no additional work. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    In the last few weeks, I have seen NO work being on Gravois at Musick - is the issue who’s responsible for the problem - don’t the parties realize how much inconvenience this is causing, with all the new issues that have come up in the last week - come on guys - get this resolved
  • In April, our Musick Road contractor discovered a previously undisclosed, subterranean concrete wall owned by Missouri American Water Company. The ‘L’-shaped wall – which protects a large water line – rests beneath the ground in the southeast corner of the intersection of Musick and Gravois. Water company officials have conceded that they should have alerted us to the existence of the wall. Unfortunately, the discovery of the structure required us to immediately suspend work on our project, and embark on a re-design process that involves both the water company and Missouri’s Department of MoDOT – the latter agency maintaining Gravois. We are now finalizing that new design, and hope to complete the project by late summer. In the interim, we expect to partially reopen Musick sometime in June, and allow “right in” and “right out” traffic – meaning that eastbound motorists on Gravois will be able to turn right onto Musick, and northbound Musick drivers will be able to turn right (east) onto Gravois. This obviously isn’t a complete “fix,” but it will help reduce cut-through traffic on the residential streets immediately west of Musick. We are acutely aware of the inconvenience and stress these repeated delays have meant for area residents and drivers, and very sincerely regret that we weren’t able to get this project completed on time. David Wrone, St. Louis County  
    Hello, and as always thank you for these chats. The road surface on southbound North & South Rd, just south of Page and approaching the railroad tracks, is extremely bumpy/uneven. Is there a way to smooth the pavement here? While I'm on the subject, is there any way to make the railroad tracks themselves less bumpy when driving across them? And one more thing to note: Farther south on North & South Rd at the intersection of Blackberry, the traffic light no longer seems to be relying on the sensor on Blackberry. The green light on North & South Rd only stays green for 10 or 15 seconds as a result (enough time for the walk signal to cycle through), and when the light turns red, the majority of the time there are no cars traveling on Blackberry, and no pedestrians waiting to cross. Is there a possibility of changing this back to the sensor? Thanks for looking into these things!
    I'll forward your report about the signals at Blackberry and North and South to our signals group, and submit a report to our Operations Division regarding the uneven pavement on North and South. However, the railroad itself is responsible for track maintenance. We have no authority over them. David Wrone, St. Louis County
    southsider -- I would expect lanes on Kingshighway under I-44 to remain closed into early September.  They have to keep the lanes closed as they are working on the interstate bridge above.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    A Road Crew reader recently reported that the signals controlling traffic at Clayton Road and Brentwood have "been cycling in all directions without vehicles triggering sensors. This has been going on for months." ST. LOUIS COUNTY'S REPLY: Over the course of our ongoing Clayton Road improvement project, our contractor inadvertently destroyed the traffic-detecting sensors that are imbedded in the pavement at this intersection. As a result, we set the signal phases to provide a minimum "Green" time for each signal cycle, which means that signal phases will be activated every cycle regardless of the traffic demand on the corresponding approach. After Clayton Road is re-paved later this year, we will replace the damaged sensors and restore the signals cycling to their normal configuration. In the meantime, we'll monitor the intersection and make timing adjustments as necessary to minimizse delays to motorists. David Wrone, St. Louis County
    1) Who handles pot holes on Manchester at Berry Rd? In the right hand, west bound lanes just west of Berry there’s a 15 foot stretch of rough road that needs a patching.
    2) I still don’t understand why there is a left red arrow at Berry turning onto EB 44??? Why not just a flashing yellow all the time? Zero pedestrian traffic, and often we’ll sit there staring at the opposite direction traffic also with a red.
    I have passed the rough patch on Manchester along to our maintenance team to check into -- it may need pavement repair, so it might be some time before it's fully repaired.  If they can do anything in the meantime, they will.  As far as the signal at Berry to eastbound I-44 -- that is a programming issue that our traffic engineers are working on.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications.

    I know many of the bridges need repair, but in approximately what year can we expect I-44 to be construction zone free (for >2 months) between 270 & PSB? Seems like a never ending project over the past 7 years
    I really don't have any good news for you.  We have  a project at Jefferson at I-44 next year that will run for about two years, and then several of the bridges between I-270 and the city limit need to be rehabilitated -- and that won't happen until the Meramec River Bridge project is completed in 2021.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communicatiosn
    DEAD! SB 15 is DEAD! We will have to continue to put our lives in danger another year because Senator Doug Libla wouldn't bring up SB 15 for a vote! Cell phone usage and texting while driving kills more people than DWIs. This act is similar to SB 749 (2018), SB 165 (2017), SB 253 (2017), HB 284 (2017), HB 312 (2017), HB 378 (2017), SB 510 (2017), and HB 546 (2017) These bills die in the Senate!
    Senator Wallingford presented this Bill in January and here it is, the last week of the session, and no bill has been passed!
    There were 15 witnesses for this bill, here is a partial list: MoDot, MO Troopers Association, AAA Auto Club of Missouri, Missouri State Medical Association, State Farm Insurance Companies,Missouri Trucking Association. Thanks go out for their support.
    After talking with various Senator's office staff members I didn't get the answer I was after for days until last Friday, the bill was not brought up for a vote! You saw the list of supporters, there were no witnesses against the bill. You would think our safety would be of main concern to the Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety!
    See if you can find out why Senator Doug Libla wouldn't bring SB 15 to a vote.
    Call his office: 573-751-4843
    Thank you for your enthusiasm!  Until we have a legislative solution, we continue to encourage drivers to voluntarily put down their phones while driving and to wear their seat belts.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    My other question for MoDOT: any insider info about the JB bridge and the extent of repairs needed? Sounds pretty intense.
    We'll have the latest update in about a half-hour -- it will be streamed live on our Facebook page if you want to watch it: https://www.facebook.com/MoDOT-St-Louis-286948911751/.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications 
  • Why are they laying asphalt on 141 between Clayton and 40 when the road was not that bad? You need to be fixing 141 near Gravois Bluffs. There is potholes all over that section of 141.
  • The project is to resurface Route 141 from I-64 to I-55 -- they will get to the section near Gravois Bluffs.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • You people have made a nightmare of the roads. Between your I-44 art project that’s taken 72 years to complete, my one hour commutes home on 40 because of the art project on 44, and the shoddy paving job you are doing at 141 and 40, I’m surprised I have a car left. I thought my engine block was going to break through my hood this morning because there is ZERO signage stating there is a huge bump at the end of the repaving at 141 and 40. I’ve already taken a rock that’s chipped my window due to the garbage you are doing at 44 and 270. When do we get your people off the roads so we can have normal commutes and the avoidance of projectiles hitting our vehicles?
  • Currently, our focus has been on maintaining a safe and operational roadway system through the greater St. Louis area.  If you have specific concerns about projects (i.e. work zones that are unmarked, etc) we'll be happy to take a look at them.  I have shared your concern about signage at the transition point of the resurfacing along Route 141.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    Love the access y'all provide nearly every week to the public. Kudos. I have a question about some of these longer-dated projects. When Highway 40 was rebuilt through STL the decision was made to shorten the inconvenience to everyone by completely closing the highway in stages. I think that worked relatively well. Was there any consideration for a similar approach to some of the area projects, namely the bridge work on I-44 (Kingshighway, Jefferson, etc.)? Seems like you could knock it out faster but maybe that's an incorrect assumption.
    We were fortunate with I-64, because there was a good break point (I-170) that we could use to route traffic around.  There is not a similar situation that we could use on I-44 to fully close the road and complete the work faster.  Big projects, such as I-64, are also significantly more expensive.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    Washington street between Lindenwood University all the way up to Graham Road is a disaster. Many potholes and utility repairs have made this road unbearable much less makes the community look bad. North county seems to be taken care of last if not at all. However, while riding around today we noticed that an affluent area along Old Jamestown has been resurfaced. Washington is a much more used road and needs attention NOW.
    Under our current funding schedule (i.e., when we expect to have the money necessary to perform the work), Washington Street will be improved in 2022 from St. Pierre to Ruth. This will be Phase Two of our Washington Street improvement project - the first having been completed in the last two years from Lindbergh to St. Pierre. Please be advised that we are currently improving 2.6 miles of N. Hanley from I-70 to 1,300 feet north of Airport Road - a $3.1 million project. We completed a similar improvement project on N. Hanley last year, from Graham south to just north of Airport Road. David Wrone, St. Louis County
    Has a date or schedule been established to fix the really rough patching job on Big Bend just west of Rock Hill Road. This was an apparently poor repair job by a utility contractor.
    I'll have to check with our Special Use Permits inspection team on this, and will report back in a future Road Crew. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • Since one of the JB bridges is down, why not route traffic and make the other bridge handle north and south bound traffic? I'm sure those who live in IL would prefer to go slow but make it across the bridge rather than have to take a long detour. I've seen it done on I-70 while bridges are being worked on.
  • It isn't an easy transition to make.  You would have to close several ramps, remove a great deal of barrier wall, work around drainage, and place a good deal of asphalt or concrete pavement (among many other items) to make that work.  It would take several days of effort to make that happen safely -- we are still considering it, but only if it looks like repairs may take a while.  The shift on I-70 was planned extensively for more than a year, and was communicated extensively during that time. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • I really like the "There are sharks in the area - buckle up"...I don't see that as advertising. It's showing support for a local team. I've seen some star wars references made on the boards - why aren't those considered advertising?
  • One is a general pop culture reference around certain events -- while being very careful not to mention a specific movie or event.  At this point, anything that references one of the teams is considered advertising, according to policy.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • While driving eastbound on I-44, a lot of the green overhead signs are extremely hard to read. Being from the area I could decipher the road names but those who are traveling from out of town may not know. What causes the white reflective lettering to stop being reflective and can just the lettering be replaced or does the entire sign have to be replaced?
  • We are currently working on a project to replace many of the signs along I-44 next year.  We have done a survey along the corridor and if there are signs that must be replaced for safety before that project, we will do so.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • Was anyone able to check and see if the east bound lanes on Gravois, just pass the trench, could be temporarily open - particularly in the mornings - looks like it could be
  • We expect to open up Musick Road/Gravois to "right in, right out" traffic sometime next month. Eastbound Gravois drivers will be able to turn right onto Musick, and northbound Musick drivers will be able to turn right (east) onto Gravois. David Wrone, St. Louis County
    Up in North County, there is a small correction on Vaile Ave where cars constantly plow through the power pole that's right at the edge of the road. It's probably been hit 5 times in the last year. I made a post about it with photos. I'd love to see a guard rail put in. Not far behind the pole is someone's house.
    www.facebook.com
  • Justin, could you please forward those photos to me at dwrone@stlouisco.com? Also, where on Vaile Avenue is this pole located (what's the nearest side street)? Thank you. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • Does the city and state inspect utility work backfill prior to patching the surface. There are probably in excess of 100 utility patches, many Spires along Chouteau from Broadway to Spring. Many off these have settled and the patches then begin to breakup. Will the city/state require these utilities to repair these patches? Many of these are in the right edge of the driving lane and drivers will swerve to the center turn lane to avoid the resulting potholes/craters.
    Thanks,
  • We require the utility contractor to return the roadway to its original condition.  I'll share your observations with the utility team.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
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