Ask the Road Crew

Ask the Road Crew

Flashing red lights, roundabouts, detours. Bring all your complaints or questions to the Road Crew experts from MoDOT, St. Louis and St. Louis County for the weekly chat on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m.

    Next week, MoDOT crews will be off the roadways starting at noon Wednesday until 9 a.m. Monday, to help travelers heading to visit friends and family for Thanksgiving. There will be no work zones set up (unless there is already permanent barrier in place or there is emergency work required). The Road Crew will also be taking next Wednesday off, so please let us know what might be on your mind today. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    WB I-70 at I-270 interchange: When will the lane restrictions end? I know that the EB I-70 ramp to NB I-170 closed this week, but because of traffic, I haven't been able to view conditions on the WB side of I-70.
    We have removed the closed lane from westbound I-70 at I-170; however, we do have a crew going out Friday night to make some concrete repairs on I-70 in that area. They'll be out from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday. We are working on all the ramps at the I-70/I-170 interchange, so please be patient. We will be out there through summer 2017. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    Highway 44 work: while we all want upgraded infrastructure, it's still a mess going in and out of downtown. What's the status overall and any chance the next phase of work will be easier?
    We continue to work on I-44/I-55 at the 3rd Street Viaduct. This year we are working on half of the southbound viaduct. Next year we will work on the other half of the southbound side and then on the northbound portion. We will be clearing out for the winter around the beginning of December and then moving back in in the spring. That really won't be much easier next year. The other work on I-44 next year is near the city limits on a railroad bridge. Like this year, we'll have three lanes open in each direction, but we will be shifting all the lanes of traffic onto the eastbound bridge, so drivers will need to continue to be careful in that area. In the direct downtown area, drivers on I-44 heading past the PSB can get into the appropriate lane -- as congestion builds and traffic slows, drivers should consider using the zipper merge. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    Happy thanksgiving to all of you and thanks for the work you do!

    And Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    STL County - Did the timing get adjusted at Lackland and Rock Road? It seems there are longer greens for Lackland in the AM rush but no cars actually at the lights!

    STL City - When will the work on Scott near Jefferson be completed?
    If you are speaking about the installation of vehicle detection on the side streets at the intersection of Jefferson & Scott, this work was completed last week.
    Traffic downtown is a mess at rush hour and during Cardinals games; are there any plans to look into this to help the flow of traffic overall?
    The City has a project kicking off to re-time the downtown signals given the new travel patterns and traffic volume changes that have occurred over the last several years resulting from roadway network changes from projects such as the new Mississippi River bridge and the Archgrounds project. This effort will involve traffic counts at intersections and development/installation of signal timing plans for the specific fluctuations in traffic during the course of a typical day. In addition, there are special event timing plans designed already specifically for St. Louis Cardinal games that we will be able to implement in this same effort given the recent upgrade to our traffic signal management software. This latter effort involves coordination with MoDOT as their signals bisect City corridors on the major exit routes following the end of baseball games.

    Can you find out when the I-64 construction at Chesterfield Parkway East will be completed? The center Westbound lane at Chesterfield Parkway East has been closed for it seems like 3 weeks. It does not seem like whatever is being done to the overpass should take his long to fix? I have never seen any work being done. Just equipment parked in the middle of the highway blocking traffic--of course it is usually before 7 AM when I am driving eastbound and after 5 PM when driving westbound
    That is supposed to be done just after Thanksgiving. It is a permit job, and part of the work includes constructing a new pedestrian bridge. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    I saw you installed your "hockey puck" detectors at Lansdowne and River Des Pere and it seems to be much better at detecting traffic. Do they affect the cycle at all, aka will the signal still be on a leading/lagging cycle if cars are detected? In the last couple days, I've seen a lot of traffic queuing up to turn from WB to SB on a red while WB had a green and no cars.
    Secondly, how do they work with bikes/motorcycles/scooters? Is it a metal detector that sends a wireless signal or is it pressure-based?
    Yes, the pucks were installed at the Lansdowne and Metro Station entrance near RDP. The traffic signal will continue to operate within its existing cycle (one full circle through serving each individual movement), however the unused signal time from individual movement's not having any vehicle presence detected is reallocated back to the mainline signal phases. For example:...Let's say we have a 100 second cycle length with the mainline traffic on Lansdowne starting off first every cycle (and then to the other individual movements thereafter). When mainline phases are serviced and it's now time to service the other movements, the pucks allow us to detect there are no vehicles exiting the Metro station for example. Let's say that signal phase would have gotten 25 seconds if vehicles were present. Now that the signal controller knows no one is present, it holds onto that 25 seconds (and any other unused signal phase times too) until all traffic movements have been looked at. Since there is "unused" time (due to no vehicles at individual movements) within that 100 second cycle left - the signal controller brings green back to the mainline traffic movements early ("early return to green"). Then they of course stay on as they begin the next 100 second cycle. The pucks are magnetometers that detect the change in magnet field brought about by a vehicle passing over them. These wireless pucks then transmit this vehicle detection information to the access point installed at the intersection (usually on one of the mast arms/signal poles)that is then wired to the traffic controller cabinet.
    @andrew.gates Thanks! A pedestrian bridge is a good thing, just wish they would only place equipment in the roadway while they are doing work rather than just leave it there perpetually.
    You're very welcome! Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    On Page eastbound just east of the Ball Ave intersection on the left lane that was relocated, there is a section of the lane that has the old rumble strip remaining in the driving surface. Can that be paved over?
    It's going to stay like this for a while. We are looking at a resurfacing on Page between Lindbergh and Bennington, but at this time there has been no funding identified for it. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    The intersection of Lansdowne and Wabash is being modified by the Great Rivers Greenway (GRG) project this spring and should remedy the ghost calls. However, I will see what we can do with our supply of vehicle detection.
    To piggyback on Divide By Zero's question, can something be done about the Lansdowne and Wabash intersection? I get stopped frequently on eastbound and westbound Lansdowne by ghost traffic from north bound Wabash, which has very little traffic since it is a one-way street at the end of a cul-de-sac. As a result, traffic is at a standstill in three directions due to the cycling for ghost traffic. Thanks.
    @SteveRunde Excellent (re: the traffic signals downtown)! Thank you sir.

    Reasonrules commented: I'd like to comment on last week's discussion of what can be done about lane visibility on wet pavement. Several years ago in this forum, I made note of how prominent/confusing the appearance of places where stripes had been ground away were (specifically on Gravois near the Bevo Mill) - especially in periods of wet and low sun. At that time, I suggested the state do an experimental stretch of pavement where fresh stripes were painted, then subsequently given a lighter ground/scoring instead of removing them altogether (or for the pavement to be scored, then painted lightly enough for the texture to not be obscured) for further study regarding wet condition visibility. Unless this has been tried/shown to be ineffective or is logistically impossible, I still think it bears looking into. Thanks - enjoy your chat week off.

    We don't have a lot of local control on the money spent on research for the state; However, I will pass your suggestion on to our assistant district engineer who oversees our maintenance program. He may be able to discuss it with the team that oversees research the next time they are seeking input. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    Something still needs to be with the traffic on Jefferson in the PM. The detection signal at Scott isn't doing the trick. It took 5 minutes yesterday to get from Market to the lights at 40. It's been like all summer that's why I'm thinking the detection signal isn't helping and maybe not the problem?
    With the installation/repair of vehicle detection at Jefferson & Scott, the signal progression timing along Jefferson is currently being revamped to accommodate for the fact we don't have to service movements with no traffic present any more. Look for improvements soon!
    Can MoDOT install a small fence along the east side of I-270 by Charter? The geese that frequent the pond will often venture into traffic. Thank you.
    Although we can understand the frustration (and hazards) of having wild animals that can venture onto the interstate, typically fences do little to prevent birds from getting to the roadways. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    That's it for this week. Everyone, please drive safely, pay attention and avoid distractions as you travel to see friends and families this Thanksgiving and we will see you in two weeks! Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
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