Confused about construction? Potholes rattling your car? Ask the Road Crew, 1 p.m.

Confused about construction? Potholes rattling your car? Ask the Road Crew, 1 p.m.

Ask the experts from the Missouri Department of Transportation, St. Louis and St. Charles counties and St. Louis City your questions about highways and roads. The live chat starts at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

    According to your website, the 44/70 express lanes were scheduled to reopen in late August. That mark has been missed by two months. It sure would be nice to use the express lanes to avoid the nightly mile-long backup where traffic is squeezed on the Musial bridge for the last several weeks.
    As we move through construction projects, we often make adjustments to how the project is managed to try to keep the impact as low as possible.  Currently, the work limits the number of lane closures we need on the main interstate (I-44), however that means that we have to keep the express lanes closed through the project.  Thanks for pointing out some information that was missed on the website.  It has now been updated.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    After the tragic death of a motorist from road debris last week, one might have expected MODOT to send out crews to pick up debris this week, but nope. Then again, after the flash flooding clogged drains with debris and flood waters blocked traffic multiple times this summer, I expected crews to pick up debris then, but nope. The 55-70 corridor remains unlike any other roads in the region. 270 through the affluent suburbs looks great. Don't answer that crews go out monthly. Don't answer that it's drivers' responsibilities to secure their loads. When does your department become accountable? Whatever you are doing (or not doing) is ineffective.
    MoDOT crews are out almost every day on the roadways removing litter along the 6,000 miles of shoulder in the greater St. Louis region, as other priorities and weather permit, In addition, we have several contract crews that are out working along major corridors, including the I-55 and I-70 corridors.  Although our teams are out regularly, there are times (due to crashes or debris falling from unsecured loads), when there may be debris on the roadway, that might impact drivers.  If you see something, please feel free to pass it along to our customer service team (314-275-1500 or 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636)) 24/7 and we'll have one of our teams check it out and ensure debris has been removed from any driving lanes. Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    Last week, a Road Crew chatter asked if St. Louis County plans on improving Baptist Church Road between Lindbergh and Tesson Ferry. We do. This stretch of Baptist Church Road will be improved under a project scheduled to begin next spring. The same chat participant also asked about work recently performed on Mattis Road, between Tesson Ferry and Townesouth. This was a Missouri American Water Company project. The utility will restore any disturbed pavement to pre-project condition. David Wrone, St. Louis County's Department of Transportation
    I think MODOT does a pretty good job, overall, which is why I take the time to participate in these sessions. If MODOT didn’t care, I wouldn’t bother. I like modot!

    My question is on the design of the “flyover” from I-44 westbound to I-270 southbound. Traffic can really become congested at the point where traffic from Watson Road merges with traffic that has exited I-44 and is beginning to split at the ramps to 270 northbound and south bound. It is a complicated part of the highway. I remember how the interchange was, originally, and clearly this circa 2010 version is an improvement. But I think it is a problem that cars zigzag left and right as traffic leaving I-44 merges to the left to reach the southbound 270 flyover, and Watson traffic merges to the right to get to the 270 northbound ramp. In fact, traffic often stops completely just at the point where Watson traffic reaches the highway traffic.

    There are two parts to my question: first, the “flyover” seems like it was built sufficiently wide to support 2 lanes of traffic, instead of the current one lane. Is this a fix that might easily and cheaply reduce the congestion? Second, might the Watson Road access be limited to times other than rush hour? That traffic has other options (Lindbergh blvd and Big Bend both access I-44) a or, more expensively, might a bridge be built to take the cars - heading to northbound 270 from Watson road - OVER the exiting I-44 traffic, such that traffic from Watson heading northbound on 270 would with traffic heading in the same direction, merging to the left (as is typically done when accessing the interstate)?

    Not a traffic engineer, obviously, but I think about this every time I have to come to a stop at this location. Thanks for doing these q&a sessions.
  • Thanks for your questions -- I will certainly pass along your observations.  As far as increasing the lanes on the flyover ramp, you would have to have an additional lane on southbound I-270 to take the second lane on the ramp -- each lane on the ramp would need its own lane onto the interstate for safety. You couldn't have the two lanes merge into each other before entering southbound, and you certainly wouldn't want to lanes from westbound I-44 jockeying with the lanes from eastbound I-44.  There are definitely going to be periods of time during rush periods when you are going to have congestion -- it's almost impossible to build a system that completely avoids congestion, so if you have it, it would be better to have congestion on ramps and outer roads rather than on the interstate itself.  Although there are definitely other options to access the westbound lanes that you mention, restricting access is a not necessarily the best option. -- that way, people can choose whatever way works best for them to get to the interstate.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    64/40 Westbound just past exit 1C - just past right lane onramp westbound starting to break up concrete. One good sized hole already.
  • Thanks for your observation -- we have passed that along to our maintenance forces to investigate.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    On west bound Watson Rd, the right lane, in Crestwood near the old east entrance to the mall is a concrete patch in the road with a large ridge on the patch. Can this be smoothed or cut down.
    I've asked our maintenance team to check into this and see what can be done.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
    Can you please advise the expected completion date of the bridge replacement on Aubuchon Road?
    If the weather cooperates, Aubuchon Road will very likely be reopened by this Thanksgiving. David Wrone, St. Louis County's Department of Transportation
    Another issue on Mason Road. The light on Mason at Clayton at 9:00 p.m. is less than 10 seconds long. I was there Monday night and observed that only one vehicle got through before the light turned red.
  • I'll forward this information to our signals group. Thank you for sharing it. David Wrone, St. Louis County's Department of Transportation
    Mason Road between Clayton and Manchester is narrow and curvy, drivers cross the double yellow lines constantly. Please investigate the possibility of cutting rumble stripes on the double yellow lines especially along the most dangerous stretches. There are several areas that have steep drop off edges.
    Our traffic studies team's response: "Mason Road's narrow lanes and the lack of paved shoulders preclude the installation of rumble strips.  Motorists striking centerline rumble strips may over-correct their steering and leave the roadway where the lanes are narrow and there are no paved shoulders present. We believe centerline rumble strips are not warranted and are not feasible on Mason Road at this time." David Wrone, St. Louis County's Department of Transportation
    It seems like the ramp from Gravios to west bound 270 would be the perfect place for a ramp meter. Driving through there this morning, it is just one steady stream of cars entering the highway which is already a steady stream of cars. Seems like spacing them out with make things smoother.
    Although we have considered ramp meters in the past, we have made no determination to use them in the region.  I will pass your observation along to the team overseeing that area for their consideration.  Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications
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