Ask the Road Crew

Summer means it's road trip time, and road trip time means planning the best route to get out. So consult with the experts at MoDOT, St. Louis and St. Louis County before you hit the highway. Join the weekly chat on Wednesday, June 14, at 1 p.m.

  • With construction on Hwy 54 going south from 70 - where can we get updates on traffic and working hours?
  • You can find some info on our Central District webpages at www.modot.org However, your best bet for real-time information is our traveler information map at traveler.modot.org Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • I've seen numerous complaints regarding the Interstate 64 and Hampton interchange, specifically, the movement from the ramp from eastbound Interstate 64 to southbound Hampton. Within this chat, folks will complain about cars blocking their path from interstate to Hampton and the hosts of this chat will routinely respond that this is an enforcement issue as motorists should not block an intersection. I urge the hosts of this chat to visit this area or at least look at satellite imagery. The ramp from eastbound Interstate 64 encounters Hampton in a "side street scenario" as the actual intersection of this SPUI, Single Point Urban Interchange, is further to the north. This is denoted by the pavement markings that are currently in place. As such, motorists already on southbound Hampton have the right-of-way EVEN IF the ramp from eastbound Interstate 64 has green arrows to head south. This is how this situation works. The traffic already on the road has to clear before the side street can enter. Please keep this in mind going further. I'm really tired of people butting in when they are in the wrong.
  • There have been several complaints about the interchange between I-64 and Hampton -- the response you reference might have been for another situation, as that does occur here. In the question you pose, you are correct, drivers within the intersection should clear before any traffic exits I-64, but it doesn't happen because drivers tend to be impatient and move to fill in gaps when they see them. We, and St. Louis City, monitor this area every day and make adjustments to coordinate the various signals along here. We will continue to monitor the area and make adjustments as needed. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • I recently noticed a massive amount of what i that was bird droppings on the side and front of car. My wife says she's seen the same type of things on other cars in the area and on 270 and speculates it's from dirty water spilling from the overpass of Big Bend at 270, where work is being done. Is that possible or likely?
  • It is possible. Crews have been removing the deck on the bridge, which requires using a saw to cut through the concrete. As a part of that process, they do use water. The barrier that they have under the bridge is good for catching concrete, but water can get through. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • For as long as I can remember, westbound I-64/40 traffic slows between Hampton and Big Bend, often to a crawl. This occurs for no apparent reason other than the road curves at that point. I thought the reconstruction of the highway would make a difference, but that has not occurred. Why the jam in this stretch?
  • There's a lot of traffic and much of it is jockeying for position. You have two lanes coming on at Hampton, two lanes getting off at Clayton/Skinker and then a lot of ramps that are fairly close together on and off between there and Big Bend. After Big Bend, you have people jockeying for position for Hanley and for I-170. The updated ramps do move more traffic, but you also have more traffic that is using that area. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • What is the light timing on eastbound Olive at Whispering Pines in the mornings around 9:00 am? Turning from Olive onto Whispering Pines, at the start of the signal there is a flashing yellow left turn arrow and at the end of the signal there is a flashing yellow left turn arrow but never a green protected arrow. The cars turning onto Mason Road from Westbound Olive sometimes blocks the view for oncoming traffic and a protected arrow would be beneficial. Also, there is a dip in the eastbound Olive (left lane) just before Timber Run. Could that dip be built up? Thanks!
  • Currently, in the morning, we have the eastbound left as a flashing yellow arrow only with no green arrow. We'll check it out to see if the green arrow is needed. I have also asked our maintenance team to see if anything can be done about the dip you mention. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • St. Louis County's plans to construct a "South County Connector" were permanently shelved more than two years ago. The project is defunct. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • Just last year, we were told by various officials from St. Louis County and MODOT about the importance of having a "South County Connector" utilizing parts of Wabash / Ellendale Ave. due to future predicted traffic growth and to reduce congestion. This artery is already heavily used, especially during rush hour, and especially by semi trucks making pickups and deliveries to the rail terminal at Wellington. I can understand the logic maybe on some roadways going on a "road diet," but it seems totally idiotic to now go in the complete opposite direction and start narrowing lanes and removing lanes along this corridor to make a bike / walking path. The single lane southward direction during the evening rush is causing backups the closer you get to Lansdowne which we never experienced before, so this project comes at a huge cost and inconvenience to the motoring public. The narrowed single lanes are totally inappropriate for a road that serves a rail freight terminal, and I think the public deserves an explanation as to the sudden and drastic change of policy to reduce capacity here.
  • Mr. Gates,
    Can you please have signal crews check the light for the northbound exit ramp on to Carondelet Boulevard/Weber Road? It seems as though the ramp is getting a green light when no cars are present. Thank you.
  • Was there a specific time you noticed this? Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • This modification is part of an ultimate plan involving Webster Groves, to carry two lanes through the Crossroads District in order to provide better separation between motorists traveling along Big Bend Boulevard and pedestrians using the sidewalk along Big Bend Boulevard in the Crossroads District. Those changes will be made at a future time when that section of Big Bend Boulevard is resurfaced.

    Big Bend Boulevard between Berry Road and Gray Avenue was converted from four narrow travel lanes into two travel lanes with a center turn lane. The center turn lane is a safety feature that allows motorists waiting to make a left turn onto any of the many other side streets or driveways to do so without stopping in a through lane, including providing for exclusive left turn lanes at the Rock Hill Road traffic signal. It is common practice to separate left turns from through lanes at traffic signals where possible. The change in striping also provides wider lanes, which gives more room for motorists.

    According to the Federal Highway Administration, a four lane to three lane conversion increases safety by reducing the number of conflict points by half and by removing left turning vehicles from the stream of traffic. Conflict points are any point where the paths of two through or turning vehicles conflict with each other. The probability of a crash increases with the number of conflict points. In other words, there are fewer opportunities for vehicles to conflict with each other. Therefore, designs that reduce conflict points are generally safer. Other safety and operational benefits include easier crossings for motorists and pedestrians and better sight lines. David Wrone, St. Louis County

    On roads with frequent left turns at driveways and minor intersections, such as Big Bend Boulevard between Berry Road and Gray Avenue, reducing the number of through lanes by half in order to provide a continuous left turn lane does not reduce the amount of traffic the roadway can carry by half. This is due to smoother traffic flow resulting from removing left turning vehicles from the flow of through traffic. This turning traffic effectively causes a four lane road to operate similarly to a three lane road by blocking one of the through lanes.

    Prior to implementing a reduction in lanes as part of a resurfacing project, the amount of traffic on the road is taken into consideration. Case studies have shown roads with daily traffic less than 17,500 vehicles are good candidates for four lane to three lane road diets. The traffic levels on Big Bend Boulevard between Berry Road and Gray Avenue are well below this threshold.
  • What was the rationale for narrowing Big Bend in Webster Groves between Berry and Elm from 4 lanes to two lanes?

    Are there any plans to rehab or remove the median planters on Tucker between Lafayette and Pine? Most are crumbling or full of weeds. Having three lanes each way would certainly improve traffic flow.
  • I'm not a bicyclist. I want to make that perfectly clear.

    However - I do want to say that the new lane configuration on Gravois between Christy and Chippewa is excellent! Traffic moves better, and I see more pedestrians actually walking in my neighborhood to get to our awesome restaurants. The painted crosswalk and "advance warning" triangles actually DO work to slow traffic as people make their way across the street - especially at Gravois/Itaska.

    The only complaint is the utility access/manholes that are now in the driving lane.

    THANK YOU for a job well-done, and a huge improvement to our Bevo neighborhood quality of life!
  • We are working with the utility company to get the utility covers raised. Thank you for your other comments about the road diet on Gravois. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • Last week, a 'Road Crew' reader asked: “Three thoughts on the Big Bend restriping in Webster Groves. One, at either end, adding pavement arrows to the right lane may make drivers more aware of the the need to merge earlier than at the very last minute - the new signs don't seem to be working very well. Two, why not continue the lane reduction, further east, to Elm, since it's two lanes east of Elm? And three, the green sign on the north side of Big Bend is confusing, since the second line says "<- HAWKINS" when it's actually pointing at Grant. You have the read the third line, "NEXT SIGNAL" to sort of "get" what's trying to be communicated.” St. Louis County's Reply: Thank you for your suggestions regarding Big Bend Boulevard. We don't believe a pavement arrow is necessary at the merge point because we have two warning signs telling motorists the right lane ends, especially as motorists become accustomed to the striping change. Pavement marking changes will be made east of Gray Avenue to Elm Avenue when that segment of Big Bend Boulevard gets a new surface. We were able to relocate the “Berry Rd/Hawkins Ct/Next Signal” sign that you believe may be confusing slightly closer to Berry Road. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • Will the 141/44 work improve the Meramec Station Rd > NB 141 traffic? Every morning people will run that light and flood into 141, causing backups because the traffic cannot move while the intersection is blocked.
  • There is a dual left turn planned for eastbound Meramec Station Road, south of I-44, onto northbound Route 141 as a part of this project. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • We hope to have this project out for bid later this year, with construction most likely beginning next year. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • When will Marine Ave between Dorsett Road and McKelvey Road be resurfaced? It had been scheduled for last year 2016 but nothing has been done.
  • Is the City or MoDOT looking into the traffic gridlock downtown that has been occurring after every Cardinal day game this season? I have worked downtown for many years, and have never experienced the gridlock that has occurred this season. Pine, 6th, Chestnut, Broadway are all at complete standstill after games.
  • We are in the process of implementing egress-specific timing plans to be in effect after end of games. Please watch for improvements.
  • The "stop" line on Shaw (eastbound) at Tower Grove Avenue needs to be moved farther back to accommodate the bus that turns right off Tower Grove Ave to Shaw westbound. Cars constantly have to move back or to the right side to get out of the way of the turning bus. The line for them to stop is too far forward.
  • We will check this out - thanks!
  • Something needs to be done about Twilight Tuesdays at the History Museum. Every Tuesday evening, traffic on Lindell backs up all the way to Kingshighway; sometimes to Euclid. At the very least, parking for this event should be prohibited on Lindell. It may also help if you could persuade the organizers to delay the start time until later in the evening, after rush hour has passed.
  • We will have timing plans implemented to address this event within Forest Park & facilitate better flow of traffic.
  • Suggestion regarding the light timing at Khwy/Vandeventer/Southwest. When westbound Vandeventer/Southwest light goes red, the southbound Khwy light immediately goes green. I've almost been hit several times since the bridge reopened, by westbounders "running" the light or making it into the intersection on yellow. Can there be an "all direction red" for about two seconds, there?
  • We will verify this, but our vehicle clearance intervals (red + yellow) are specifically calculated for the intersection geometrics present.
  • I wish I could give provide a logical answer to your question, but I can't. I've sought enlightenment on this subject myself, without success. The phenomenon by which the same, contiguous strip of pavement bears more than one name remains a mystery. Perhaps it's a manifestation of local autonomy asserting itself in years past. But I simply don't know for sure. I'm sorry I can't be of more help. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • Gentlemen:
    Thanks for hosting these chats.
    I believe this one to be for the county.
    Is there any logical explanation for the existence of those exasperating, interrupted, start-stop, disappear-reappear thoroughfares such as Fee Fee Road and Lackland Road? I’m reasonably certain that it wasn’t done to make things more difficult for the hapless driver, but that’s exactly what happens to a newby to the area. Certainly nothing’s going to change, and it’s my problem not yours, but some explanation or maybe a bit of history would be comforting.
    Thank you and regards,
    Javert53
  • RE: "There is a dual left turn planned for eastbound Meramec Station Road, south of I-44, onto northbound Route 141 as a part of this project. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications" - A dual left-turn lane already exists from eastbound Meramec Station Rd onto NB 141 and morning traffic is awful, as folks block that intersection - as previously stated. Please clarify if there's another plan to improve the existing dual left-turn lanes onto NB 141 at that intersection. Thank you!
  • There is a striping change yet for the dual left -- right now you have a left, a left-through, and a right. Before the project is complete, you will have two dedicated left turns and a right-through turn. However, if people are blocking the intersection, that is a law enforcement issues. When you see it, please share it with local law enforcement. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • is MODOT given access to WAZE reports, such as pots holes reported, and other debris in road, ect? Or do I need to report it all back here?
  • We are still working through various processes with Waze. Your best bet it to report issues on the roadway to our customer service section 24/7 at 314-275-1500. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communciations
  • Are there any long term plans to construct a flyover ramp from westbound Page/364 to northbound 270? Especially during morning rush, the logjam caused by merging traffic from both northbound 270 from Page and eastbound Page from 270 has become dangerous at times.
  • We have several improvements planned for the Page/I-270 interchange but at this point have not identified any funding for design or construction. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • What are the chances down the road of the I-64/141 interchange becoming a full blown interchange free of stoplights? Seems ironic that there are ramped interchanges at 141 and Page, Olive, Ladue, Clayton and Manchester but there are stoplights at I-64.
  • I would say that with the outer road there, fairly unlikely. None of the other roadways you mention have outer roads. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
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