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Monday, December 15, 2008

The I-64 Flip

This weekend, crews flipped the construction closure on Interstate 64 through the heart of St. Louis city. Crews closed the eastern five miles of the interstate this weekend to construct the new I-64, while opening the western half of the project two weeks ahead of schedule.

To manage traffic during this flip, as drivers through the city are learning which routes are the best for their daily commutes, the Missouri Department of Transportation in conjunction with traffic experts from St. Louis County and St. Louis City, have been operating a command center to watch for trouble spots during the early part of the eastern closure.

Traffic flow on the first day was impacted a bit by icy weather that rolled through St. Louis just before the Monday morning rush period. Although traffic during the day was relatively light due to the weather, it moved along smoothly.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The start of designing something big

Engineers have been hard at work designing the Mississippi River Bridge, the $640 million river crossing which will begin construction in 2010. The design team, which is co-located in Laclede's Landing near the Mississippi River, has prequalified four contractor teams to bid on the cable stay portion of the bridge.

This prequalification means these contractors teams have the experience, leadership and capability available (within the team) to complete the complex work required to construct the new river bridge. It also means that these contractor teams will be able to work with the MRB team to develop confidential and individualized proposals using the latest advances in construction technology. This innovative method to reduce costs will allow Missouri and Illinois to get the best possible bid late next year as the two states prepare for the construction of this greatly-needed project.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Safe and Sound Set to Begin in the St. Louis Region

The Missouri Department of Transportation will begin improving 802 of the state’s most worn out bridges this winter. All 802 bridges will be improved by the end of October 2014.

In the St. Louis region, there are 23 bridges that will either be rehabbed or replaced. Five are in Franklin County, twelve in Jefferson County, five in St. Louis County and one in St. Charles County.

At its November meeting, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission awarded approximately $1.47 million to the lowest bidder for bridge rehabilitation on five Safe and Sound bridges in Jefferson County. Work will start in December 2008.

Click here for more details on the initial five bridges.

Safe and Sound signs have been posted on all St. Louis area bridges designated for rehab or replacement.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Moving along with the big projects

Even despite the rainy spring weather, Gateway Constructors are a bit ahead of schedule on work on the west half of I-64. Right now, the team intends on being able to switch traffic onto the new section of highway sometime between the end of November and the end of December.

Of course, at the same time, the east end of the I-64 project will close. That means that people who use the east end of the I-64 project (between I-170 and Kingshighway) will need to start making sure they are aware of, and testing, their alternate routes around the region. There will be no point when both the east and the west half of the project are open at the same time (the roadway has shifted a bit, and there is a concrete plant that is in the middle of the lanes). MoDOT is planning to have some event that will allow people to walk, bike or run on the new lanes before opening it up to driving traffic, but details on that event are still being determined.

For more information on the I-64 work, and the completion of the west half, click here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

When is a good week to close a major bridge?

The Missouri Department of Transportation is planning to close the westbound Daniel Boone Bridge this weekend (on I-64/Route 40) between St. Louis and St. Charles counties for its annual inspection. At the same time, crews will complete an additional inspection based on Federal Highway Administration findings from the river bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed last year. Although it is inconvenient, to say the least, to close a major river bridge, this is work that has to be done. It had to be done on a weekend (to minimize the impact on traffic), and it had to be done at a time when there wasn't a major event in St. Charles County or further west which might draw traffic along the route.

To pick a date, the department considered all upcoming weekends. Since Mizzou has a bye week this week and the winery tours aren't yet in full swing, this week was as good as we could pick to complete this inspection. There are sure to be other events which will be impacted -- however, the posted detour will get drivers to their destination. If you know the area, you can also take other routes to get to St. Charles County and beyond.

For more details on the closure, click here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Battle for teenaged drivers

For the third year in a row, the Missouri Department of Transportation is conducting "Battle of the Belt" -- a challenge to encourage high-school students to buckle-up whenever they are in a vehicle. More than 80 percent of the Missouri teens who are killed in crashes were not wearing a seatbelt.

During Battle of the Belt, students conduct two seat-belt checks during the two-month campaign -- one at the beginning of the Battle of the Belt and one at the end. The Missouri school which has the highest overall seat belt use and the one who has the most improved seatbelt usage are both given a cash prize from the Battle of the Belt's sponsor. Additionally, the top schools in each region for overall and most improved seatbelt use also receive prizes. This year, Pattonville High School in St. Louis defends its state "championship" for overall seatbelt usage. For more, visit the Arrive Alive website.

What's on your mind?

Here is your opportunity to ask questions about MoDOT projects in the St. Louis Region, or to get information on MoDOT transportation issues in St. Louis. Post a question and we'll respond to it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Drilling in the mighty Mississippi

Crews are starting some significant design research for the Mississippi River Bridge construction project. This morning (Sept. 8), crews on a barge started drilling, just offshore, to help designers determine what the riverbed floor at the base of the bridge looks like. This information will help designers determine the appropriate foundation for the bridge piers.

The current plan for the Mississippi River Bridge is a $640 million bridge between East St. Louis and St. Louis City, carrying I-70 about a mile north of the Eads Bridge. Construction of the new bridge will begin in early 2010 and should be complete by 2014-2016.

You can see more on the Mississippi River Bridge here.

The benefit of public meetings

MoDOT is truly interested in recieving input from the public during the design process of most major projects -- there is also an increased emphasis on inviting public comment during even minor projects, as well.

As Missouri transportation experts, MoDOT does look at all of the changes as thoroughly as possible, and public meetings are not an opportunity to "vote" on which projects should be completed. But that also doesn't mean that MoDOT's "mind" is set on making changes. As an example, a recent proposal to close a slip ramp on westbound Route 94 in St. Charles County. MoDOT held a public meeting on Aug. 7, and based on input from that meeting, decided to hold off on closing the ramp for now, make some other changes to the project for safety and continue to monitor the project. You can read more about that here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Keeping traffic moving

MoDOT gets extremely involved when it comes to keeping traffic moving during special events. Over the next two weeks, two big events come into St. Louis.

Next week, 25,000 golf fans will watch some of the top names in golf at the Bellerive Country Club for the BMW Championships. In St. Louis, MoDOT has worked on the traffic plan, which includes temporary striping and daily traffic switches to keep traffic moving into and out of the event. You can read more about that here.

In two weeks, world-class cyclists and cycling fans can anticipate the Tour of Missouri bike race. MoDOT across the state, to include traffic experts in St. Charles and St. Louis, have worked hard to coordinate the routes and viewing areas for this seven day event.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Staying environmentally responsible

MoDOT is making significant efforts on staying environmentally responsible during the construction and maintenance of the roads and bridges throughout the state. On the I-64 project, much of the concrete removed from the highway will be reused as part of the roadbed for the new concrete. In five years, the department across the state kept more than $3.6 billion pounds of waste from going into landfills (about the amount of household waste generated each year by the entire metropolitan St. Louis area). MoDOT reclaims about 70 percent of the state highway signs for re-use and uses recycled glass beads to increase the reflectivity of the roadways. In 2007, the department received an award from the Missouri State Recycling Program for its landmark efforts.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Motorist Assist celebrates 15 years of service

Motorist assist, the men and women who travel the interstates in St. Louis and help keep traffic moving safer and smoother, celebrate their 15th year of service this year. Although, officially, motorist assist operators began patrolling St. Louis in January 1993, they got some of the original members back together recently to discuss how the operation has changed, but in the most important matters has stayed exactly the same.

You can read more about the 15th anniversary of Motorist Assist here.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

MoDOT response to recent St. Louis Post- Dispatch editorial

The Missouri Department of Transportation was recently criticized in an editorial in the St. Louis Post Dispatch about allowing a contractor to quality control the I-64 Design-Build construction process, with MoDOT oversight.

Pete Rahn, MoDOT Director, drafted a response to that editorial, which appeared in the paper on Aug. 7. You can read that response by clicking this link.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

2008-2013 Transportation Improvement Plan adds three regional projects

The Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission approved the latest Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan on July 1, which included more than $300 million in new construction projects.

Money for these projects came from lengthened bond terms and lower interest rates on Amendment 3 money, as well as savings from practical design efforts and matching funds from local municipalities. This money will be spent across Missouri, constructing new roads, improving interchanges and purchasing needed right of way for future projects.

In St. Louis, three projects were added to the plan:
  • Purchasing right of way for Route 141 between I-64 and Olive Blvd. in St. Louis County

  • Completing another section of Route 364, Phase II in St. Charles County

  • Interchange improvements at I-55 and Route M in Jefferson County
The five-year STIP includes nearly $5.8 billion in transportation improvements across Missouri, including about $4.3 billion for 730 highway and bridge projects, $810 million for other transportation modes, and $640 for local transportation programs.

Review the entire STIP here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What's on your mind?

If you had the opportunity to ask the Missouri Department of Transportation in St. Louis a question, what would it be?