Ask the Road Crew

Ask the Road Crew

Winter weather is here, as the Thanksgiving weekend proved for much of the Midwest. Talk to the Road Crew about getting around in winter, congestion and construction and other St. Louis commuting issues. Join the weekly chat on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 1 p.m.

    For MODOT - Do you have any information on the timeline for when the consultants/contractors will finish their review of the I-44 Bridge at Shrewsbury and you will be able to announce the results? Have they started reviewing the bridgework? Will they be able to finish their review during the winter months, or do they need to wait for the spring before they can complete the study?
    We do not have a timeline for when the analysis will be complete.  It needs to be extensive, as it involves analyzing materials and construction processes, as well as building a 3D computer model.   We recognize the urgency of the situation and our third-party consultant is already at work to determine the cause as quickly as they can while doing a thorough job and this takes time.   Once the analysis is complete, we will be able to determine our next steps -- as soon as we have more information available to share, we will do so.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    Will the setback on I-44 in Shrewsbury affect the work that is being done between Kingshighway and Grand?
    No, we should be shifting three lanes of eastbound traffic back onto their original lanes and reopening the Vandeventer ramp this weekend, weather permitting.  Westbound traffic and the remaining eastbound lane will have to wait until we complete shifting the barrier back into its normal position, which we anticipate having completed by about mid-December.  Remember, though that we will do the same for the westbound side next year, starting in early March.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    As always, thanks for doing these chats. A few weeks ago I commented here about a recessed sewer on westbound Olive, after N Warson Rd and approaching Old Olive Street Rd, in the far right lane (which is right-turn only onto Old Olive Street Rd). It lined up exactly with the passenger-side tires and made for an unwelcome jolt. It appears to have been filled in/leveled (THANK YOU!!) but now there appears to be water constantly rising up out of it. On these cold mornings, the water freezes and unsuspecting drivers are fishtailing on the icy pavement. This could be treacherous. Can someone look into this? Thanks!
  • Missouri American Water is aware of the leak and is trying to track it down to be able to repair it.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    Please, please, please open the Shrewsbury on ramp back up. For you guys to make that announcement literally weeks before it was supposed to open up. And then to find out its just going to sit there with no work being done is very very frustrating. There is no good alternative. I have been doubling my commute for almost a full year now.
    There is no way to safely open the Shrewsbury ramp without taking one interstate lane away for I-44 drivers.  We understand that it is frustrating and challenging, but we have to look at the impacts not only people who use the ramps, but also to those who use the interstate.  The analysis is extensive, as it involves analyzing materials and construction processes, as well as building a 3D computer model.   We recognize the urgency of the situation and our third-party consultant is already at work to determine the cause as quickly as they can while doing a thorough job and this takes time. As soon as we have more information, we will share it.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • Thank you for the update on 44 between Kingshighway and Grand! It looks like we will have a few months of regular traffic before the headache begins again.

    I’m looking forward to riding on the new eastbound lanes!
  • Thank you --  There is still a layer of asphalt to go over the new eastbound lanes at the end of the project (which will give us a clean surface to paint the final lanes after next year's work.)  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    what is the possible worst case scenario on the Shrewsbury bridge. Is a tear down and complete rebuild taking another year a possibility, even if unlikely?
  • It wouldn't really be prudent to speculate before the analysis is complete.  Once the analysis is complete, we will review all our options to look at what will give us the quality Missouri taxpayers deserve, while getting the eastbound interstate bridge completed and reopened as soon as possible.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communciations
    will the review/delay on the I-44 work at Shrewsbury affect the work being done near the 270/44 interchange? Would the same concerns about cracking pavement, etc. apply to the new bridges scheduled down 44 at 270?
    No, we are not concerned about the same issues at the Meramec River Bridges on I-44.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    so essentially what you are saying about the I-44 delay is we know nothing, don't ask us anything, and we will let you know when its time to know. Do you have any time frame for when the on ramp and lanes will be open?
    We do not know anything conclusive, until the analysis is complete.  Once the analysis is complete, and we determine if there are any issues (and what those issues are), we will be able to determine a solution to fix those issues.  When we determine that solution, we will be able to give a firmer timeline on when the eastbound bridge can be completed and the eastbound interstate reopened to traffic.  We cannot open the on-ramp from Shrewsbury until the bridge is complete and the eastbound interstate reopened to traffic. We will keep the public informed through this process.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • The new stoplights at Berry & 44 need to be checked. When making a left from Berry onto 44E, there had been either a blinking yellow or green light to turn onto on-ramp, but now there is a red arrow as well. First – why the need for red? Second – when the light is red to turn, the oncoming traffic light is also red. No crosswalk, so it’s just two lanes doing nothing, for no reason
  • The red arrow makes it more apparent that the signal is for the left turn.  I have passed your other concern about the signal to our construction team, as the work is still underway.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • Is there a different contractor being used or different materials being used at the meremac bridge work vs. the shrewsbury work on I-44? it would seem to me that any concerns about a bridge cracking would apply in both cases. cracks are cracks (and we obviously can't have that)
  • There are several reasons  -- primarily that the design and construction of a major river bridge is significantly different than that of most other bridges.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • What’s the 5-year plan for 44 between 55 and 270, including best case scenario for Shrewsbury work plus other projects. I get it, infrastructure is poor and need be replaced, but it feels like the past 5 years have been non-stop construction and traffic. When will we be able to use 44 without 2 and 3 lanes of traffic during rush hour (not counting Dec-March)
  • We do still have several years of work along I-44 between I-55 and I-270 (with the Meramec River Bridge project expected to currently last until 2021).  We still have the Jefferson Bridge at I-44 to work on (which is projected to start in 2020), as well as many of the bridges between Shrewsbury and I-270 that we are waiting for the Meramec project to be finished before we start work on them.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    The headaches on northbound Big Bend at Manchester have been going on for months longer than originally scheduled. Any chance both lanes open before the end of the year?
    Can we be serious for a minute here? Who - by agency and name - is responsible for the debacle at Big Bend and Manchester? This is, at most, a project that should have been finished in a week. The time wasted by commuters, the energy and gas spent idling for untold hours, the mismanagement of epic proportions, magnified by the I-44 detour, needs to be laid at the feet of an individual. So that we aren't forced to file dozens of sunshine requests to get this information, let's just answer it now: who is in charge of this project and what are the repercussions to that individual?
    Two issues significantly delayed this project. Several weeks were lost after our contractor discovered a series of subterranean utility conduits for which no installation/permit history existed. (In other words, the pipes weren't supposed to be there, and we had no idea to whom they belonged.) Before work could continue, the mystery conduits had to be removed - but we were understandably reluctant to cut into the pipes until we knew precisely what they contained. Although no utility company initially claimed ownership of the conduits, AT&T ultimately did - but only after many valuable work days had been lost. Yet more weeks were lost after we discovered that approximately 200 feet of Laclede Gas piping - resting in the ground on which the new turning lane is being built - wasn't as deep as it was supposed to be. This stretch of piping had to be uprooted and a deeper trench excavated for it. Poor weather has also posed problems. If warm weather arrives later this week as expected, there is a good possibility that we'll be able to lay the new lane's asphalt pavement, and get it and the lane adjacent to it open by next week. We very sincerely regret the inconvenience associated with this project. David Wrone, St. Louis County
    I wonder why the St. Louis region does not make use of traffic signals at Interstate on-ramps, like so many other parts of the country. The traffic on 40/64 W backs up every day at Kingshighway and again at Hampton because of traffic entering the highway. These would seem to be two perfect locations to use traffic signals to regulate the number of merging vehicles.
    Part of the issues on I-64 at Hampton and Kingshighway are more due to how close the various nterchanges are to each other (and traffic weaving to get to the interstate and ramps)  than the volume of traffic using the ramps.  Ramp metering is an option that MoDOT retains in its tool box,  and will  continue to consider using it if it is appropropriate.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    I have watched that traffic for years at 64 and Kingshighway and Hampton and sincerely believe it would improve immensely with metering installed. The merge has become a free-for-all with cars literally bumper to bumper in the on ramp and the merge lane. I hop MODOT will at least try metering at Kingshighway as a test case. The downside is only the cost of the stoplight. Thank you.
    Thank you for your suggestion.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    What are the other issues at 64 and hampton/kingshighway - bc my 7 mile due east commute from downtown takes approximately 35 minutes each night...traffic used to back up around kingshighway but now you are lucky to get to Jefferson before being forced to a dead stop. Is this all rerouted volume from I-44? And then why also have the inconveneince of additional projects on 64 at the same time (6th street entrance/exit ramps). Seems like there is something being 'fixed' for months on end at all times making commutes terrible for eternity...
    Some of that is due to high volumes of traffic on the interstate -- traffic levels have significantly increased along I-64 after the rebuild in that area. Some of it is traffic that is moving from I-44.  But you also have several interchanges that are very close to each other, and you have traffic weaving from the interstate to get to those ramps, as well as traffic trying to get up to speed to get off the ramps and onto the interstate.  We are trying to get the ramps along I-64 in the city repaired to ensure that we continue to have a safe and reliable roadway system.  We have the 6th Street ramp from the interstate closed during the day while crews are working on the Broadway ramp above it.  The ramp is supposed to be opened before evening rush hour to help with traffic flow.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • I concur with the comments about I-64 ramps/metering. I only drive on W-bound during mid-PM occasionally, but there's ALWAYS a "conga line" of vehicles coming down the ramps from McCausland and Bellevue - they can't all be accommodated simultaneously by through and exiting traffic without a big mess developing. It probably resonates/worsens throughout the evening "rush" - glad I don't have to experience it!
  • Thank you for sharing your additional observations.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications

  • I have an observation/question about the signals on Hampton: it seems like the "rush"-period intervals on the weekend are the same as for M-F. Is this true? If so - why can't they be shorter then? It's pretty frustrating to sit at a "No Right/Red" signal for over 2 minutes on a Sunday afternoon while no traffic passes by. Thanks!
  • Traffic remains heavy on Hampton from I-64 down through Bancroft (Hampton Village) throughout the week.  As such we have (and still would) consider a lower traffic signal cycle length in the area south of there (Nottingham and further) on the weekend.  I suspect you might be in the Eichelberger area seeing a no right on red restriction, which is in this stretch of Hampton where it would be feasible to consider.  Our traffic engineers will take a look at this.
    Since 44 EB at Shrewsbury is closed until Godot comes, Is there any way to widen 44 WB. It gets real tight there with a semi next to you.
    Except for the inside lanes, all lanes on eastbound and westbound I-44 in that area are 12 foot (which is the standard interstate lane width).  We don't have any additional width we can use to make those inside lanes any wider.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    For the City. On the approach to Walnut Street from 4th Street there is a right turn lane and a shared thru/right lane. I have had several near misses that this location. Can you please strip the dash lines to denote that lanes for right turn drivers. This has been done by MoDOT at several intersections. Thanks,
    We will look at adding the "skip-dash" striping that will better delicate the turning path of side-by-side vehicles at this westbound approach of Walnut at 4th St.  We do this already in the City for areas where it would benefit roadway safety and this appears to be be worth of it.  This will help limit potential of incidents you described.  Thanks for your thoughts!
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