Ask the Road Crew

The Road Crew tackles all your STL commuting questions in its weekly chat. Ask now, get answers from the experts at MoDOT, St. Louis and St. Louis County on Wednesday, July 19 at 1 p.m.

  • Why does MODOT feel the need to be out striping roadways during rush hour traffic? This morning around 8:30ish, there were 4 paint trucks stopping northbound 141 traffic at Highlands Blvd causing many people to be late for work.
  • We have striping trucks out almost around the clock. Between about 6 and 9 in the morning and between 3 and 6 in the evening, we make every effort to either be off the roadway, or working in the opposite direction of rush. With temps running what they are currently, we are also trying to get the paint down during times that the roadways (and the surrounding temperatures) aren't quite so warm. I will pass on to our maintenance team to watch out for traffic backing up behind them. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • A St. Louis County contractor currently is improving Big Bend, from Laclede Station to Manchester - a $1.8 million project that will include removal and replacement of the existing pavement. We have a major resurfacing project planned for Hanley, from Dale south to Manchester. However, work on this project won't begin until summer or fall of '19. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • Both Hanley Road and Big Bend from Webster to I64 are a mess with patches, potholes, bumps and torn up pavement. Are those scheduled to be repaved any time soon?
  • Last week, a Road Crew participant wrote: “For the County – the recent lane reduction on eastbound Big Bend, between Berry and Grant, continues to confuse and confound a lot of drivers. Yes, there are now two signs warning of it, but people still end up “trapped” in the right lane, primarily because it's over a slight hill, just past a stop light, and not very visible from any sort of distance / until you're right on top of it.

    While I'm sure that it's designed to current engineering standards, there are several, equally-good, solutions that would cause fewer conflicts. The best one would also be the most expensive – move the power pole in front of the church, back, then rebuild the curb, widen the road, and make the right lane a right-turn-only lane, onto Grant (which is what most people want to do).

    Since that likely will never happen (“no money”), the next best option is to move the merge from east of (after) Hawkins to west of Hawkins (and before the existing traffic signal). This can be accomplished either by eliminating the left-turn pocket onto Berry (and turning the left lane into a mandatory left) OR by just re-striping to eliminate the right lane (as has been done elsewhere on the project), before the light.

    Finally, just painting arrows on the pavement, that point up and to the left, ideally before Hawkins, to reinforce the need to merge left, would also be a big help. And I get that merging to end a lane is always a challenge, but given the topography (where much more of the road is visible before the light than after), the current arrangement just invites unneeded conflict. People are creatures of habit, and a couple of yellow signs just aren't registering . “.

    ST. LOUIS COUNTY'S RESPONSE: Department of Transportation personnel continue to monitor the Big Bend Boulevard lane transition east of Berry Road. We believe motorists are adapting to the changes we implemented, and as we continue to monitor, we've observed that merging has greatly improved. However, we have a project to improve the traffic signal at Berry Road that we expect to begin within the next several years. We have already planned to relocate the utility pole, drainage inlet, and curb by the church, as you have suggested. This will better align Big Bend Boulevard with Grant Road and allow for the curb lane to end at Grant Road. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • Recently, a Road Crew reader asked: "Is it possible to lengthen the time for the left turn signal for north bound traffic on Big Bend turning to go west onto Manchester? Presently only three cars can turn and the third car is actually turning on yellow. This is between 4 and 6 PM. Thanks." ST. LOUIS COUNTY'S RESPONSE: Subsequent to receiving your recent communication, County personnel observed traffic conditions at this intersection between 4 and 6 p.m.,on a weekday evening.

    The results of our investigation revealed that with the exception of the 15 minute period between 5:15 and 5:30 p.m., all northbound left turning vehicles cleared the intersection in a single cycle. During this 15-minute period, a few northbound left turning vehicles had to wait an additional cycle to clear the intersection. However, during this brief period, drivers on other approaches also had to wait a second cycle to clear the intersection due to the overall heavy volume of traffic utilizing this signalized intersection.

    In light of the above, we believe that adding time to the protected portion of the northbound left turn is not warranted at the present time. It's critical that we operate our signals in a safe and efficient manner using timing and phasing that maximizes the overall throughput capacity of the intersection. We realize this isn't the response you were hoping for; but, unless we continue to concentrate our efforts upon moving traffic efficiently on our primary, high volume roads to the fullest extent possible, we have strayed from our principal objective. David Wrone, St. Louis County
  • Gentlemen:

    When driving westbound on Highways 40/I64 in the far right lane, passing Lindbergh, passing Spoede Road, you see the exit for Ballas Road. However, it soon becomes clear that the lane ends and you are forced to take Ballas Road or swerve left into the next lane. Shouldn't that exit be signed as EXIT ONLY?

    Thanks for hosting these chats.
  • I will pass it along to our traffic team to check out and make sure the correct signing is in place. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • When it comes to the dual turn lanes that merge, a lot of people don't know that you're supposed to merge like a zipper. What can be done to help educate drivers?
  • You made a good start mentioning it in the chat room. Thanks! Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • Is the inside lane of EB 44 between 109 and 141 going to be resurfaced as part of the resurfacing project? That lane is in worse shape than the middle and outside lanes were prior to being resurfaced. So far the inside lane has had no work done to it with the exception of a few short sections.
  • Yes, we will be resurfacing the inside lanes. Our resurfacing contractor has been making an eastbound and westbound loop through the project. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • On eastbound Olive Road just before Timber Run Drive, there was some utility work done near a manhole and the patch work is extremely rough. I read in the chats that sometimes they wait to finalize pavement work but in the mean time, can anything be done to make the road smoother?
  • You are correct -- typically, there is a wait for the utility company to make sure that the repair took, and then to award the final repair contract. The utility company is required to restore the roadway to its original condition, and sometimes those temporary patches shift, especially when you get temperature extremes. That is most likely what you are experiencing. These temporary patches have to meet certain tolerances (above or below the road) to pass our permit process. We are a little reticent to spend tax dollars to fix something another organization should be addressing. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • One small item for MODOT - the changeable message signs for the paving on I-270 say something like "BIKES USE CENTER LANE". Shouldn't they say either "CYCLES" or "MOTRCYCLES" (it fits), since bicycles aren't even allowed on the freeway?
  • The word "Motorcycles" might be a bit long -- typically we have about 8 letters (and "M's" tend to be large) -- even the way you abbreviated it would probably be too long for the boards. I'll pass it along, but I think that most people understand that "bikes" means "motorcycles" in this context --. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
  • I live on the south side of St. Louis City and was wondering if there are plans to shut off the street lighting during the day on August 21 for the eclipse? A total solar eclipse is a once in a lifetime experience and it would be a shame to have it unnecessarily diluted when it doesn't have to be. Thanks.
  • The solar eclipse will last for a few minutes, but we'll still have to maintain the operation of the lights on the roadways for safety reasons.
  • I noticed some work being done around manholes on Grand in Midtown. Hopefully this is a sign of a much-needed resurfacing for Grand?
  • Grand is being resurfaced from Olive to Delmar I believe.
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