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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.