ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) will have full closures and lane shifts on three major interstates in the St. Louis metropolitan area starting this week and running through the summer.
Up first, Interstate 44 near Antire Hill.
“We’re going to take out a lane of westbound I-44 and then we are going to move two lanes of traffic over onto the eastbound lanes and run those against each other with a barrier down the middle,” explained MoDOT District Engineer Ed Hassinger during a mid-morning news conference Thursday.
One lane of the interstate will be closed around the clock in each direction until mid-September.
In addition, the westbound I-44 entrance and exit ramp at Antire Rd. will be closed for the month of June.
This past Tuesday one eastbound lane of 44 was closed with two lanes open, and that continues 24/7 until mid-September.
MoDOT officials said drivers will experience traffic delays of several minutes on Interstate 44 with this one-lane closure during morning peak travel times, especially from 6:45 am to 7:45 am.
That part of the message is apparently starting to sink in, according to Hassinger.
“Motorists seem to be listening to us because this morning (Thurs.) our delay was about half of what it was the morning before,” he said. “We’re still urging people to watch those travel times because fifteen minutes can make a difference out there.”
Starting Friday June 1st crews will close all lanes of westbound Interstate 64 downtown between Broadway and 21st St. at 10 am.
“So if you’re coming from Illinois across the river you will have to go north or south, you will not be able to proceed westbound on 64,” Hassinger said.
The ramps from 10th and 14th Streets to westbound I-64 will remain open.
All lanes will reopen by 3 am Monday.
The signed detour around the closure is I-44 to Jefferson.
Starting Tuesday June 5th crews will close Interstate 270 from Manchester Road to Big Bend for up to 15 minutes at approximately 10 am to 1:30 pm to blast rock as part of a road-widening project.
Crews will need to blast and then clear any rock from the roadway before reopening the interstate.
The closures will occur on weekdays throughout the summer.
With all of this road work going on, authorities say a top concern will be work zone safety — for both MoDOT workers and travellers.
Sgt. Al Nothum with the Missouri State Highway Patrol assures drivers that they will be closely monitoring work zones this summer.
“The weather’s going to heat up, tempers are going to flare, and people are going to be late getting where they’re going,” Nothum said. “We’re asking everyone to allow themselves plenty of time to get where they’re going. If you can adjust your work schedule, talk to your boss and see if you can go in a half hour late or half hour early, that’s really going to relieve some of the pressure through these work zones.”
And if asking drivers to behave themselves isn’t enough, Sgt. Nothum reminds them that tickets for work zone violations are automatically $250 higher.