Quick trips i-44 frustration, shrewsbury bridge blues, conga lines on highway 40 ramps traffic stltoday.com gas you up

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QUESTION: Do you have any information on the timeline for when the consultants/contractors will finish their review of the I-44 bridge at Shrewsbury and you will be able to announce the results? Have they started reviewing the bridgework? Will they be able to finish their review during the winter months, or do they need to wait for the spring before they can complete the study?

Andrew Gates, MoDOT Communications: We do not have a timeline for when the analysis will be complete. It needs to be extensive, as it involves grade 9 electricity formulas analyzing materials and construction processes, as well as building a 3D computer model. We recognize the urgency of the situation and our third-party consultant is already at work to determine the cause as quickly as they can while doing a thorough job and this takes time. Once the analysis is complete, we will be able to determine our next steps — as soon as we have more information available to share, we will do so.

Gates: No, we should be shifting three lanes of eastbound traffic back onto their original lanes and reopening the Vandeventer ramp this weekend, weather permitting. Westbound traffic and the remaining eastbound lane will have to wait until we complete shifting the barrier back into its normal position, which we anticipate having completed gas monkey by about mid-December. Remember, though that we will do the same for the westbound side next year, starting in early March.

QUESTION: Who, by agency and name, is responsible for the debacle at Big Bend and Manchester (not pictured above)? This is, at most, a project that should have been finished in a week. The time wasted by commuters, the energy and gas spent idling for untold hours, the mismanagement of epic proportions, magnified by the I-44 detour, needs to be laid at the feet of an individual. So that we aren’t forced to file dozens of sunshine requests to get this information, let’s just answer it now: Who is in charge of this project and what are the repercussions to that individual?

DAVID WRONE, ST. LOUIS COUNTY: Two issues significantly delayed this project (NOTE: the project above is from a different area). Several weeks were lost after our contractor discovered a series of subterranean utility conduits for which no installation/permit history existed. (In other words, the 3 gases in the air pipes weren’t supposed to be there, and we had no idea to whom they belonged.) Before work could continue, the mystery conduits had to be removed — but we were understandably reluctant to cut into the pipes until we knew precisely what they contained. Although no utility company initially claimed ownership of the conduits, ATT ultimately did, but only after many valuable work days had been lost. Yet more weeks were lost after we discovered that approximately 200 feet of Laclede Gas piping — resting in the ground on which the new turning lane is being built — wasn’t as deep as it was supposed to be. This stretch of piping had to be uprooted and a deeper trench excavated for it. Poor weather has also posed problems. If warm weather arrives later this week as expected, there is a good possibility that we’ll be able to lay the new lane’s asphalt pavement, and get it and the lane adjacent to it open by next week. We very sincerely regret the inconvenience associated with this project.

QUESTION: I wonder why the St. Louis region does not make use of traffic signals at Interstate on-ramps, like so many other parts of the country. The traffic on Highway 40 (I-64) westbound backs up every day at Kingshighway and again at Hampton because of traffic entering the highway. These would seem to be two perfect locations to use traffic signals to regulate the number of merging vehicles.

GATES: Part of the issues on I-64 at Hampton and Kingshighway are more due to how close the various nterchanges are to each other (and traffic weaving to get to the interstate and ramps) than the volume of traffic using the ramps. Ramp metering is an option that MoDOT retains in its tool box, and will continue to consider using it if it is appropropriate.

QUESTION: I concur with the gas bijoux discount code comments about I-64 ramps/metering. I only drive on westbound occasionally during the mid-afternoon, but there’s ALWAYS a conga line of vehicles coming down the ramps from McCausland and Bellevue – they can’t all be accommodated simultaneously by through and exiting traffic without a big mess developing. It probably resonates/worsens throughout the evening rush. I’m just glad I don’t have to experience it!

QUESTION gas 93 octane: What are the other issues at I-64 (Highway 40) and Hampton/Kingshighway? My 7-mile commute from downtown takes about 35 minutes each night. Traffic used to back up around Kingshighway, but now you are lucky to get to Jefferson before being forced to a dead stop. Is this all rerouted volume from I-44? If so, why also have the inconveneince of additional projects on 64 at the same time (6th Street entrance/exit ramps). It seems like there is something being fixed for months on end at all times that makes commutes terrible for eternity.

GATES: Some of that is due to high volumes of traffic on the interstate — traffic levels have significantly increased along I-64 after the rebuild in that area. Some of it is traffic that is moving from I-44. But you also have several interchanges that are very close to each other, and you have traffic weaving from the interstate to get to those ramps, as well as traffic trying to get up to speed to get off the ramps and onto the interstate. We are trying to get the ramps along I-64 in the city repaired to ensure that we continue to have a safe and reliable roadway system. We have the 6th Street ramp from the interstate closed during the day while crews are working on the Broadway ramp above it. The ramp is supposed to be opened before evening rush hour to help with traffic flow.

QUESTION: I have watched that traffic for years at 64 and Kingshighway and Hampton and sincerely believe it would improve immensely with metering installed. The merge has become a free-for-all with cars literally bumper to bumper in the on-ramp and the merge lane. I hope MoDOT will at least try metering at Kingshighway a gas station as a test case. The downside is only the cost of the stoplight.