Ask the Road Crew

There will be delays on I-44 - talk to the Road Crew now about how to avoid the worst of them, and ask them all your other commuting questions. Join the weekly chat on Wednesday, March 7, at 1 p.m.

  • MODOT: Since you are the ones who designate "travel safe zones" would you please elaborate on your discussions with the policing agencies affected? It seems that the police go after speeders and only speeders. The problem with that is that folks speed and drive aggressively when they encounter a slow poke driver who is usually on their phone in the fast lane. Do these people, who are illegally impeding traffic and driving distracted pulled over and cited? Of course not! The police go after the person who has their peaceable journey interrupted by an idiot, not the idiot themselves. If the police cannot distinguish between cause and effect in these MODOT-designated zones, then maybe MODOT should not be creating these zones in the first place. As another example, I was approaching some roadworks in one of these zones and there was an officer sitting on the shoulder. I slowed to the workzone speed limit and the person behind me was tailgating me like mad. Did the officer pull them over? Nope! Tailgating is dangerous at any speed, let alone 50 mph. If you insist on creating these travel safe zones, then you have the duty to explain to the police on the root causes of why these zones exist and not the revenue-generation aspect. These are supposed to be about safety, not money. Thanks and please advise on your procedures and actions when dealing with the police in these areas.
  • Missouri state legislature authorized the Missouri Department of Transportation to establish Travel Safe Zones in those areas where the number of fatalities and disabling crashes exceeds what would normally be expected for those areas.  The zones are specifically designed and, for all intents and purposes, double fines for any moving violations.  We partner with law enforcement organizations, but they do not work for us, nor do we tell them what laws to enforce, nor how to enforce those laws.  If you have concerns with how law enforcement conducts their duty, you should contact the appropriate law enforcement agency. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communcations
  • What is going on at Highway 44 and Big Bend? Is this going to be delays on top of the Shrewsbury delay.
  • There is some work to replace barrier walls as part of upcoming work to resurface I-44 between Murdock and Route 141 this year.  There are several construction zones along the I-44 corridor planned for this year as we continue to maintain the roadways and ensure that drivers have a safe and operational roadway.  You can see more on the anticipated work along I-44 here: 

    STLCountyI44construction.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications

  • In a recent Road Crew, “Ben” asked: “Question about Dougherty Ferry and Big Bend intersection: Can east-bound Big Bend be restriped so that both lanes head toward the left lanes of the intersection? Then have a dotted line to cross over to continue straight on Big Bend past Dougherty Ferry. In the mornings, so many cars are forced to change two lanes while others are trying to go straight and it’s very dangerous. Also, in the same intersection, southbound on Dougherty Ferry should not be allowed to turn right from the middle lane. It is dangerous to assume all cars are going straight and suddenly someone who missed getting into the right lane stops to turn right at the intersection. A “straight only” arrow painted on the road and possibly an arrow in the light itself would be clearer to drivers.”

     

    ST. LOUIS COUNTY’S REPLY: In regard to your request to modify the striping on eastbound Big Bend Boulevard approaching Dougherty Ferry Road to where both eastbound through lanes line up with the two eastbound left turn lanes, we feel this request is not feasible.  We agree that the eastbound left turn can back up into the eastbound through lane during the AM peak period. 

     

    However, revising the striping as requested would mean that motorists in the eastbound inside through lane would be entrapped and forced to turn left onto northbound Dougherty Ferry 24 hours a day.  Traffic engineering principles discourages the use of entrapment.  Entrapping motorists in lanes can lead to: (1) an increase in the potential for side-swipe type accidents; (2) the potential for an increase in congestion when an entrapped motorist comes to a complete stop in an attempt to safely shift lanes; (3) an increase in the potential for rear-end type accidents when motorist unexpectedly stop to change lanes; and (4) unnecessary driver confusion.

     

    We realize that this is not the response you sought.  Nevertheless, as caretakers of St. Louis County’s road system, we’re obligated to stripe our roadways in a safe manner.

    In regard to your request that we restrict the right turn movement for southbound Dougherty Ferry Road motorists utilizing the southbound through lane, we studied this movement during the hours of 3:45 to 5:45 p.m.  Our observations revealed that a total of 16 vehicles made this movement during the two-hour window.

     

    We concur with you that motorists should be discouraged from making a right turn from this lane.  Therefore, within the next two weeks, weather permitting, we’ll install a sign advising motorists that they can’t turn right while driving on the southbound Dougherty Ferry Road through lane. David Wrone, St. Louis County

  • Another chat participant recently observed: “For at least 5 years, the traffic light at Hanley Rd. and Delmar Blvd. has been short cycling for northbound traffic turning left (west) onto Delmar. The green arrow allows only two cars through. This is particularly rough during rush hour. I have called about this before.”

     

    ST. LOUIS COUNTY’S REPLY: Subsequent to receiving your recent communication, we inspected the traffic signal at the intersection of Delmar Boulevard and Hanley Road.  Our study revealed that the signal is functioning properly and as designed. 

     

    Department personnel observed traffic conditions at the signalized intersection of Delmar Boulevard and Hanley Road between 7 and 9 a.m. on a weekday morning; 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on a weekday afternoon, and 3:45 5:45 p.m. on a weekday evening.  During these three time periods, 512 vehicles made a northbound left turn onto Delmar Boulevard from Hanley Road.

     

    All but two of the 512 northbound left turning vehicles cleared the intersection in a single cycle, whether on a protected GREEN arrow or a solid ball GREEN permissive indication.  These two vehicles represent 0.39% of the total northbound left turning movement for the six-hour period observed. David Wrone, St. Louis County

  • Mr. Wrone: regrettably, there have been numerous utility repairs on Watson between Laclede Station and Elm since it was resurfaced. The majority of the pavement-patching jobs afterward have been poor quality - with either dips or humps that are jarring. Why are substandard "restoration" efforts like this allowed to pass muster? Thanks.
  • Actually, Watson Road is maintained by MoDOT, as it is Missouri Route 366.  Like the county, though, we require utilities to return the pavement to similar to original condition when they make repairs.  Many of the initial patches are going to be temporary -- put in place until the utility can ensure that the repair is sound (for instance, the water company wants to make sure that there are no other breaks near a water line that breaks) -- and until they can arrange for a more permanent patch (which often can't happen in winter months because of the conditions).  Often that takes time, but we continue to work with them until we get a permanent patch that is more even with the current pavement.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • What can be done about the congestion at Murdock, Hanley, and ramp getting on 44west?
  • Can you be a little more specific? Are you referencing congestion during a certain time of the day due to signal timing, or general congestion issues at the interchange over I-44 heading to the westbound entrance ramp?  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • Horrible at both the intersection and the interchange gets backed up preventing people from crossing Murdock and the people on Hanley trying to go North on Hanley to get on 44
  • At what time are you seeing this? During morning or evening rush?  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • Really bad at rush, but pretty day all day
  • Thanks -- I'll share it with our traffic team to look at the signal timing over the bridge.  We'll see if we can make any adjustments there to the timing.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • MODOT: I drove Gravois westbound from River Des Peres to Lindbergh last Friday morning a little after 7:00 am. I know you have signal synchronization problems in the City of St. Louis but I had no idea that these problems persist in St. Louis County as well. After receiving the green light at River Des Peres, I observed that the signal at Seibert cycled for ghost cars while I was approaching but it did turn green as I neared (good, I thought, now I am "in sync" with the mainline traffic). Upon arrival at a red light at McKenzie, I and the cars behind me, caught a queue of about 20 total cars--10 in each lane. When I drove under the signal, it prematurely turned yellow leaving many cars behind me waiting for another cycle (that's odd, I thought, but I should still be "in sync"). I was wrong, the light at Highway 21 prematurely turned red on approach stopping all cars that I caught at McKenzie that should have been definitely "in sync." These signal shenanigans continued all the way to Lindbergh even though, especially after Highway 21, I should have been "in sync" with the signals and should have had a better run down Gravois, which is supposed to be a major arterial road. Is this the best you can do? What is the point of all of those wireless radios when they don't work? If you can't figure this out, perhaps you should remove the signals and replace them with stop signs--doing so would probably save time! In all seriousness, please evaluate these signals--I feel sorry for the folks that drive Gravois everyday.
  • You are correct in that Gravois is a significant route; however, during the morning rush, most of the traffic is heading eastbound (into the city) , which means that traffic heading east, and going from routes like 21st and Lindbergh to eastbound Gravois gets most of the signal time. That also means that traffic heading westbound (as you were) gets caught up as those arterial routes turn onto eastbound Gravois.  Route P (Mackenzie) and Route 21 have a lot of traffic in all directions during the morning rush, and so they are timed to try to get that traffic through -- that means that they aren't working in coordination with other signals. I have asked our traffic team to see if they can make any minor tweaks to help traffic flow better westbound during morning rush.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • Thanks for the information. I'll pass it along to our Operations group for action. Please feel free to call our Service Request number to report similar issues: 314-615-8538. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • Just a quick pothole request, this week, for the County - in Webster Groves, on Big Bend eastbound, there are two good-sized ones just before / south of the I-44 bridge. Thanks!
  • Driving eastbound Gravois in affton right past Mackenzie on left side there is a shopping plaza (Affton Plaza) with new construction taking place. Word on the street is they are building a Popeyes. If traffic is allowed to turn left into the plaza at the fast food restaurant from east bound gravois this will significantly back up traffic on east bound gravois since west bound traffic is busy in the evenings. Has MODOT studied the impact of this or looked into putting a no left turn barrier to prevent this from happening?
  • We do review any proposed changes to state roadways due to development.  Since it is late in the chat, I will have to get a response from our traffic team;  however, since there is a signal at Valcour, it would seem to be better to let traffic enter there.  I will share what I hear during next week's chat. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
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