Ask the Road Crew

Ask the Road Crew

Get advice from the experts at MoDOT, St. Louis and St. Louis County about how to make your commute better. Join the weekly Road Crew chat on Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 1 p.m.

    Last week in response to a question about the PSB ramp work remaining to be completed MoDOT wrote the following:

    The westbound PSB to southbound I-55 ramp fully opened last weekend for the winter. In March, we will be shutting down one lane on the ramp again as we continue preventative maintenance work on both directions of the I-55 bridge over 3rd Street. That project is still scheduled to be complete by the end of 2017. We just awarded the contract to widen the eastbound PSB, as well as add a second lane to the ramp from northbound I-55 to the eastbound bridge. We will be talking with the contractor soon, so we will have more specific details on that project in the next few weeks. That widening project is scheduled to run through late 2018 at this time.

    Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications

    I noted with interest the statement about just awarding the contract for the eastbound replacement ramp from northbound I-55 and completion date of late 2018. I then reviewed the MoDOT website, specifically, St. Louis District Major Projects, and the "Poplar Street Ramp Project" information ( This highly detailed project plan, complete with phase breakdown and timelines clearly shows that the total project is to be completed by December 2017 ( The project includes not only the double-wide eastbound lane additions, but also the widening of the PSB itself by two additional lanes by 12/17. From MoDOT's response above one gets the impression that just the additional ramp will be done by the end of 2018, almost a year late. The statement does not address whether this is the new date for the total project completion or just the new ramp. Will the final project completion date now be the end of 2018 or sometime in 2019, or even later than that? At minimum it looks like the project is a year late and it could be almost two. What has caused this delay? Previous chats indicated that things were on schedule right up until it was the State of Illinois's turn to modify some of its roads (clearly depicted in the ramp project plan). Now the project is at least a year overdue. Is Illinois the cause? How will this delay affect the project costs? Will Illinois reimburse MoDOT and therefore Missouri taxpayers for the additional costs to us of their delaying the project? Full disclosure is in order. Please explain.
    The delay is due to permit requirements -- whenever you work over a river and on a levee, various outside organizations (such as the Army Corps of Engineers) have to provide input into the design and provide approval. We mention that the project was delayed due to permit requirements at the very top of the web page. The design work and efforts to get the appropriate permits has been underway for more than a year and we are anticipating getting the final permits in early 2017. The delays have nothing to do with Illinois' work. Right now, we are anticipating the construction will be complete in late 2018 -- barring any unforeseen circumstances with construction over one of the most challenging rivers in the country. On all border bridges, one state is responsible for the bridge and the other state contributes half of the cost to maintain and work on the bridge. In the case of the PSB, MoDOT is responsible or the bridge and IDOT pays half of the cost toward improvements. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    Westbound Clayton at Newstead has a huge bump in the road, like Newstead is at a higher pavement level than Clayton and the transition is not smooth. Gives your car a little bit of a launch. Can you take a look to see if anything can be done?
    We will take a look - thanks!
    I'll forward your information to our Division of Operations for investigation and appropriate action. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. David Wrone, St. Louis County's Department of Transportation
    The pavement heave on NB Big Bend in the turn lane into Deer Creek is back and very jarring. Can you smooth it out again or take a look at what can be done? Much appreciated!
    Thanks for hosting these chats, and Happy New Year. My question is for the City regarding the sidewalk replacement project on the 500 block of Washington downtown. Do you know when this project will be finished? If memory serves, work started in October and it should not take 3 months to replace a sidewalk in my opinion. It does not appear that much work has occurred in the past few weeks. Can the City force the contractor to complete the project faster?
    Checking on the status of this project - hopefully get an update shortly...
    There's a ramp stub at the west end of the PSB. Is that the remnants of the old ramp from WB to SB? Is it going to be there semi-permanently?
    It is the remnants of the old ramp from the westbound PSB to SB I-55. That portion of the ramp is tied into the overall bridge structure in such a way that we could not remove it without significantly rebuilding the through lanes. We have no plans to remove that stub, so it will be there more or less permanently. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    Heading west on Manchester Road, there is a huge pothole in the left hand lane past Enchanted Parkway but before Highland Blvd (Wal-Mart). Thanks!
    I have passed this along to our maintenance team. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    I recall reading that sometime in the next few years, the I-44 bridge over Jefferson will be replaced. When that takes place, is there any possibility of adding a dual turn lane from SB Jefferson to EB 44?
    We will take a look at it as we get into the design. There are several concerns which may prevent it -- there are several nearby driveways, and you have a lot of traffic merging into eastbound 44 from I-55 very quickly. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    Reasonrules -- I have passed the pothole request onto our maintenance team. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    This is for Mr. Runde: is there anything - in terms of signal equipment/detection - that can shorten the cycle at Hampton/Bancroft between 7PM and morning "rush"? The daytime cycle for Hampton seems to be nearly, if not fully, 3 minutes, and it appears to persist in the evening/night, forcing drivers on E-bound Bancroft to pointlessly sit there (due to no right on red) for long periods of no Hampton traffic.
    P.S. - unless already reported or fixed - there's a nasty pothole in the right lane of E-bound Gravois just W of the Kingshighway signal.
    Thanks - and Happy New Year to you all!
    The vehicle detection at that signal (Hampton Village/Target) is on our list to investigate - we are planning to replace any malfunctioning or dead in-pavement sensors with new ones. This requires coring into the pavement & the use of epoxy so we will be choosing our times wisely in regards to cold weather.
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