One of life’s slap-your-forehead moments is when you hit the St. Louis interstate system a little early to get to that important appointment and realize you are driving into a traffic jam caused by an accident or road construction. That realization usually comes after you pass the last interstate exit ramp you could have taken to get to an alternate route.
Although you can’t plan for an accident, you can plan for road construction. In fact, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has put out a road work calendar that could help motorists who rely on the interstate system get where they are going on time. The plans on the table will affect those busy highways well into 2020.
MoDOT’s construction plans will temporarily snarl traffic but keep critical infrastructure in good shape for the long run. Using MoDOT’s calendar to plan your commutes will save time – and avoid the risk of a construction-related accident.
Here’s What’s Coming Down the MO Highways
MoDOT has construction plans that will affect the St. Louis interstate system and many connecting roads. Also on the drawing board is work on State Road 30 and Route H. Some of that work has begun. All of it is scheduled to be finished before the end of 2020. Here are 14 projects commuters should know about:
Interstate 44 bridge work: This project will resurface I-44 from Murdoch Avenue to River Des Peres Boulevard and replace a bridge over Union Pacific Railroad tracks. The work will close the ramp from Shrewsbury Avenue to eastbound I-44. One lane on I-44 will be closed around the clock during the bridge construction. The project will start in 2017 and be completed in 2018.
Interstate 55 bridge work: This project will rehabilitate the bridges over the North Third Street viaduct as well as the ramps between the interstate and north Seventh and Eighth streets. Work has begun and will be finished in late 2017.
Interstate 55 ramp resurfacing: This project will put a high-friction surface on the ramp from northbound I-55 to westbound Interstate 44. Work will start next summer and be finished by year’s end.
Interstate 64 Poplar Street bridge widening: This project will add an eastbound lane to the I-64 bridge at Poplar Street, add a second lane to the northbound Interstate 55 ramp, and extend the South Sixth Street ramp into Illinois. It also will overlay the eastbound lanes and paint the bridge. Work was slated to start in late 2016 and should be completed in the summer of 2018.
Interstate 70 express lanes resurfacing: This project will resurface express lanes between Kingshighway Boulevard on I-70 and North Broadway on Interstate 44. Work will start in early 2017 and be completed by summer.
Interstate 70 North Broadway ramp relocation: This project will relocate the westbound exit ramp at North Broadway to Carrie Avenue. The work will start in the fall of 2017 and be completed by spring 2018.
State Road 30 resurfacing: This project will resurface State Road 30 from the city limits to Interstate 55. Eleven traffic signals will be replaced. The project is set for completion in fall 2017.
Interstate 44 bridge work: This project will rehabilitate bridges from Kingshighway Boulevard to 39th Street, including bridges over Union Pacific Railroad tracks and those spanning Kingshighway, Vandeventer Avenue, Tower Grove Avenue, Thurman Avenue, and South 39th Street. The project will start in early 2018 and be completed in 2019.
Interstate 55 bridge work: This project will renovate several bridges on I-55 between Virginia Avenue and Arsenal Street, including bridges at Virginia Avenue, Bates Street, spans near 4500 S. Broadway, Gasconade Street, Potomac Street, South Second Street, and near 3200 S. Broadway. Work will start on the northbound bridges. When that is done, work will begin on the southbound spans. The project will start in early 2018 and be completed in 2019.
Interstate 64 ramp work: This project will renovate westbound exit ramps at South Ninth Street; the westbound entrance ramps at Broadway, 10th Street and 14th Street; and the eastbound exit ramps at Sixth Street, 11th Street and 14th Street. The work will require ramp closures, and traffic will be detoured. Work will begin in early 2018 and be completed later in the year.
Interstate 64 resurfacing: This project will resurface I-64 between South Sarah Street and South 21st Street. Work will include resurfacing of ramps at Market Street, Forest Park Avenue, and South Grand Boulevard. Work will begin in spring 2018 and be completed by the fall.
Interstate 70 resurfacing: This project will resurface I-70 from Springdale Avenue to Union Boulevard. Work will start in early 2018 and be finished by summer.
Interstate 44 resurfacing and bridge work: This project will resurface I-44 in both directions from west of Kingshighway Boulevard to Interstate 55. Work will include replacing the bridge at Jefferson Avenue. The project will start in spring 2019 and be completed in the fall of 2020.
Route H resurfacing and intersection improvements: This project will place an overlay on the driving surface of Route H. Work will Include intersection improvements and signal updates at Hall Street and Riverview Drive. The project will start in early 2019 and be finished later in the year.
How to Drive Safely in Construction Zones
You might recognize this scenario: Traffic is obeying signage and merging into a single lane as it approaches a work zone. You and almost everyone else move into the designated single lane well in advance. You then grit your teeth as people zoom up on your left or right – in empty lanes created by conscientious drivers – and get to the front of the line, nosing their way in.
Fasten your seat belt. The pushy driver might be doing the right thing, according to MoDOT. Here’s the department’s explanation of and introduction to what it calls “merge like a zipper”:
Most motorists start to merge as soon as they see warning signs and learn which lane ahead is closed. When the highway is not heavily congested and traffic is able to move at the speed limit, it is best to merge early into the open lane.
However, in dense, slow moving traffic, the open lane fills quickly and can back up for miles. Research shows driver frustration decreases and traffic moves more smoothly when motorists use both lanes until reaching the defined merge area and then alternate merging every other vehicle in "zipper" fashion into the open lane. Using both lanes and merging like a zipper can reduce congestion up to 40 percent!
In addition to this merging advice, the department offers some safety tips that can reduce car accidents in construction zones and keep highway construction workers safe:
- Stay alert and obey the signs. Remember, distracted driving kills.
- Watch for highway workers and equipment
- Keep the volume on your radio down and don’t use your cellphone or other electronic devices.
- Follow posted speed limits and adjust downward for weather conditions.
- Don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- As MoDOT puts it: “Be Nice!” Merge as directed, don’t tailgate, and don’t change lanes in a work zone.
- Be sure to buckle up. The seatbelt is your last line of defense against mistakes made on the road.
Planning and caution can give you an edge, but they can’t stop others from making serious mistakes on the road. If someone else’s failure to drive responsibly leaves you or a loved one injured, our motor vehicle attorneys can help you fight for the compensation you need and the justice you deserve after a St. Louis auto accident.
The Bruning Law Firm Is Committed to Safety in St. Louis
If you have questions about pursuing compensation after an automobile accident in St. Louis, contact The Bruning Law Firm. Anthony Bruning and sons A.J. and Ryan are St. Louis-born and raised, so our skilled attorneys have in-depth knowledge of St. Louis and its court system.
Contact us today for a free consultation with a legal team that has earned the recognition of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and is listed among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.