Ask the Road Crew

Driving in below freezing conditions can throw you some curves. Get the Road Crew's advice on what to do differently or how to prepare for the frosty weather before you get behind the wheel. Join the weekly chat on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, at 1 p.m.

  • I see the disabled or abandoned vehicles on the freeways (more in this weather) with the green tag (occasionally orange?), but without stopping just to see more, I don't know what they say or mean. Can someone please explain to this new resident of the county?
  • We have emergency response teams that go about the area -- mostly on the interstate, to help clear disabled vehicles (or to help change flats, provide a little extra gas, or protect a driver/vehicles during crashes or incidents). Our major purpose is to help keep the roadway clear, since a vehicle on the roadway -- even on the shoulder -- significantly slows traffic down. The safest thing to do if your vehicle breaks down on an interstate is to stay with your vehicle until someone is able to get to you and help you move the vehicle or get it running again; Some people choose not to do that, so the sticker is to share information with the driver/vehicle owner about the program, and to give a visible method that the car is abandoned (so our emergency response team don't continually stop at an abandoned car. Different colored stickers are often ones placed on the vehicle by different organizations (highway patrol, MoDOT, etc.) Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • Thank you so much! Over and out.
  • You are very welcome! Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • In last week’s chat, “Concerned Citizen” asked: “I would like to see more sidewalks for people in the communities. Specifically, St. Louis County, where I live. I see a lot of people walking in the streets. What is St. Louis County doing about that? Also, can we get some better transit options? Sometimes I drive down streets with people standing, with no sidewalks and bus shelters and it looks uncomfortable. I would like to take transit to different places, but it does not go everywhere. What is being done about this? Also, there are a number of roads that are in terrible shape. Why so long before they are paved? What are our tax dollars being spent on?”

    ST. LOUIS COUNTY’S REPLY: We understand and see merit in your desire for additional sidewalks along St. Louis County maintained roads. Unfortunately, St. Louis County has a very limited budget for sidewalks – the construction of which has become increasingly more complex and costly. Not only must sidewalks be compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, they typically require additional property rights. We often encounter homeowners who have no interest in having a sidewalk built across their own property frontage. Too, many of those property owners who are supportive are nonetheless unwilling to donate or sell the necessary rights (and, in many cases, lose trees that would have to be removed) for a reasonable cost. St. Louis County does not typically use its power of eminent domain to construct sidewalks. Another hurdle is the storm water requirements enforced by Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District when an entity adds impervious surface (concrete).

    It is standard practice for St. Louis County to require that sidewalks be constructed as part of commercial and subdivision developments. Therefore, the majority of sidewalks along County-maintained roads were constructed by various developers. St. Louis County’s Subdivision Ordinance, adopted in 1985, enables this sidewalk requirement when a property is divided into multiple parcels for development. However, many areas in the County developed prior to 1985 lack pedestrian facilities.

    In regard to your mass transit concerns, I encourage you to contact Metro Transit at 314-231-2345.

    Lastly, in reference to your query about St. Louis County Department of Transportation project funding: Last year (’17), the Department of Transportation spent $28 million for improvements (including new pavement construction, sidewalk/curb removal and replacement and wheelchair accessible ramp construction) on major roads and pavement rehabilitation/maintenance work throughout our 3,200 lane mile road and street system. These projects included Big Bend, from Laclede Station to Manchester; Union Road, from Lindbergh to Reavis Barracks; Chambers, from W. Florissant to Bellefontaine Road; Shackelford, from Hume to Charbonier; N. Hanley, from Airport Road to south of Frost and the removal and replacement of a bridge on Musick Dr., south of Gravois. Several new projects are scheduled to get under way this year, and include the resurfacing of Clayton Road, from Skinker to the city limits of Ladue; resurfacing of Fee Fee, from Olive to just south of Bennington and resurfacing of Chesterfield Parkway, from Olive to I-64. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • I drove south on Kingshighway last Sunday around 11 AM. The signals at Northrup Ave. and the ones immediately after that control the exit and entrance ramps to I-44 were all horribly out of sync. Past discussions on this board had MODOT and St. Louis City officials confirming that once the new Kingshighway overpass is complete, an all-new synchronized traffic control system was supposed to be installed here. So my question is, why are we back to the same old antiquated setup wasting our time and gas, and what is the status of the new system?
  • At that time of the day the signals on Kingshighway would be operating under a signal timing plan that provides a balance between north and south directional flow of traffic (versus a preferential timing plan for northbound in the morning and southbound in the afternoon periods of commuter traffic). What may be the issue is the operation of the vehicle detection at the Northrup intersection. If it is malfunctioning we may have false calls occurring, causing unnecessary delays at the intersection. This has been a problem in the past and resolved. However, our signal techs will revisit the intersection to investigate.
  • A Road Crew reader asked last week: “I have a question about Laclede Station Rd. between Watson and Murdoch. It seems to be paved with a material that appears more orange that most asphalt. Also, it's been like that for as long as I can remember (many decades) and is in nearly perfect shape, with just a few patches, mostly from utility work. How can that old material/aggregate be in such good condition? Any clue as to what it's made from, and if it's still used?”

    ST. LOUIS COUNTY’S REPLY: We used an asphalt mix on this section of Laclede Road known as “Superpave” – which has proven longer lasting and more rut resistant than the old bituminous pavements our department used predominately in the past. This particular driving surface was applied in 2007 or 2008. Superpave is now our standard pavement “type” for any resurfacing work on our major roads. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • THE EXIT TO 20TH STREET FROM I-64 IS CONFUSING. APPROACHING 20TH STREET IN THE RIGHT LANE THE FIRST MARK IS AN ARROW THAT TURNS RIGHT. THEN THE NEXT MARK SHOWS RIGHT TURN AND STRAIGHT. THEN THE THIRD ARROW SHOWS ONLY RIGHT AGAIN. THIS LANE IS RIGHT TURN ONLY BECAUSE THERE IS ONLY ONE LANE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF 20TH STREET AND THE LEFT EXIT LANE IS THE THRU LANE.
  • I've passed it along to the team to check into and make sure that all the striping is correct, based on the current configuration of 20th Street past the ramp. You may be seeing some residual effects of old striping. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • I asked a couple weeks ago about the lane shift on SB Kingshighway at Forest Park. Every single time I go through here at least one car makes no attempt at shifting, I guess because they don't know they're supposed to. It isn't very evident and there are no warning signs. What can be done to make people aware and comply with the lane shift? I would be very surprised if there hasn't been an accident because of this yet. Thanks - Mike
  • The southbound shift in lanes along Kingshighway near Forest Park Parkway occurred as a result of the reconstruction of that intersection. The lanes are striped to assist motorists in following the transition in alignment. While this jog in lanes is considered acceptable, we are exploring options for the future to smoothen that transition even more for southbound motorists.
  • Good afternoon! This morning during the morning commute (6:55-7:05 am) traffic on NB Kingshighway was subject to extensive delays due to out-of-sync lights at Shaw/44/Northrup. NB traffic was backed up from Shaw/44 past Vandeventer. Has this already been addressed? If not, can it please be fixed?

    Thanks!
  • We'll check the signals on the ramps at either side of I-44 to make sure they are operating correctly. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • You'll need to check with the City of Town and Country for this information. (T&C maintains this section of Clayton Road.) David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • On NYE, my sister told me about a water main break on Clayton Road near Weidman Road. On NY Day, we had to drive down Clayton Road and ran into a bunch of STOP signs across he road. Yesterday morning, I heard on the radio that it was still closed. Why weren't notifications signs put out warning drivers that the road was not passable and to use another route? Is it open today?

    Thanks!
  • Under our current timetable, this stretch of Washington Street will be resurfaced in either 2020 or 2021. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • Washington Street in Florissant from Hwy 270 to Florissant Road has many bad areas and has been patched multiple times. Is there an estimated date for repaving and/or replacing the pavement on this street?
  • The signals on Laclede Station Road in the vicinity of the I-44 Eastbound Off Ramp and- Wilshusen Avenue are coordinated at all times due to (1) the volume of traffic traveling along this major arterial roadway; (2) the number of traffic signals on this signal system; and (3) the close spacing of some of the traffic signals. In this particular case, the signalized intersection of Laclede Station Road and I-44 Eastbound Off Ramp/ Wilshusen Avenue is extremely close to the signalized intersections of Laclede Station Road and Murdoch Avenue, and Murdoch Avenue and Wilshusen Avenue.

    Typically, if we don't coordinate closely spaced traffic signals on major arterial roadways such as Laclede Station Road, motorists note that they stop at one signal and then, having just picked up a moderate head of steam, must then stop at the next signal - and thereby waste time and fuel as they travel on a higher volume roadway.

    We realize that to maintain signal coordination along Laclede Station Road, drivers on the side streets may often experience delays. This is considered a normal expectation for side street motorists. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • I got off the exit from EB I-44 onto Laclede Station / Murdoch the other night at 1 AM. I sat at the light through its regular long cycle, which was still programmed to favor traffic on Laclede Station. Nobody is on the road at this time of day. Why isn't this signal responding to the presence of traffic on the exit ramp? I have been reporting this for years, but nothing has changed.
  • Our major '18 projects include resurfacing Clayton Road from Skinker to the city limits of Ladue; resurfacing Fee Fee from Olive to just south of Bennington and resurfacing Chesterfield Parkway, from Olive to I-64. Please note that this is only a partial list of our planned projects, and that work on any of the three mentioned may extend into '19. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • Do you have a list of the planned road/highway/street resurfacing projects scheduled for 2018? I know that some of them are in pretty dire shape, and am curious which ones will be getting some asphalt love this year?
  • Mr. Wrone: I drive through the Watson/Lac Sta/Heege intersection frequently during the day, but did so twice late (9-11P) Friday and was both surprised and disappointed to sit for the usual daytime duration on W (after just missing the light in each direction), waiting for "ghost traffic" to pass. I've noticed shortened durations on Sun afternoons, so I know there's detection present: if it's turned off completely on weekdays, it shouldn't be during off-peak. Thanks - and "Happy New Year!" to the panel.
  • Watson Road is a state roadway, so we'll check into the signal at Watson and Laclede Station to make sure everything is working correctly. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communciations
  • For southsider -- MoDOT's major resurfacing projects in 2018 include I-44 between Murdoch and Route 141 (except between Soccer Park and Lindbergh, due to the upcoming bridge work), I-270 between Route 100 and I-55, a good deal of I-70 in St. Charles County, I-55 in Jefferson County (a continuation of last year's work) and a section of Route 47 (between Third Street and Norwood Court) in Franklin County. This is also not an exhaustive list, but hits the highlights. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • forgive me if this has been asked before. The signals for Eastbound Arsenal at Hampton is timed for a protected left turn, but there is no arrow like there is for Westbound Arsenal and drivers not used to the intersection who want to turn left hesitate when they see approaching traffic causing a back up on a not very long light. Can a turn arrow be added or if that's not feasible, maybe some signage. Thanks...
  • East-west traffic runs separately at that intersection so that signal head will be switched out with one that will better inform motorists that there is no opposing traffic.
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