The Missouri Department of Transportation is closing lanes to shift traffic on the Poplar Street Bridge between Christmas and New Year’s as part of its ongoing project to resurface and widen the bridge.
Officials aren’t expecting the shift to cause major traffic problems for Illinois commuters and other drivers because many people go out of town for the holidays and others stay home from work.
“Typically, that week isn’t as bad as regular days,” said MoDOT spokesman Andrew Gates.
Three of the bridge’s four eastbound lanes will be closed on and off Tuesday through Thursday. This isn’t as unusual as it might sound.
Construction has kept the two right eastbound lanes closed around the clock since September, and workers often close an additional lane between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays, Gates said.
“You have a little bit of backup around noon time, but it’s not a horrid backup, and it seems to clear quickly,” he said.
The bridge’s eastbound lanes carry traffic on Interstate 64 east and Interstate 55 north.
Three of these lanes will be closed from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 2 p.m. Wednesday and 8 p.m. Wednesday to 2 p.m. Thursday, according to a MoDOT press release. This will allow workers to shift barrier walls and restripe lanes.
Then the bridge will go back to having two eastbound lanes closed, except it will be those on the far left and far right instead of the two right lanes, sending traffic on the two middle lanes through February 2018.
“We’re still going to have two through lanes,” Gates said. “That’s the important thing for people to know.”
Regarding the bridge’s westbound lanes, MoDOT plans to close two lanes at 8 p.m. Wednesday and reopen one of them by 5 a.m. Thursday.
When the traffic shifts are complete, the bridge’s left westbound lane and left eastbound lane will be closed around the clock through December 2018, according to the press release.
“These lane closures will let crews prepare the bridge for a scheduled ‘slide’ to widen the bridge in late March and then will let crews construct and fill in the new eastbound lane for the bridge,” it stated.
The right eastbound lane is projected to remain closed for resurfacing through February 2018.
MoDOT continues to encourage Illinois commuters and other drivers to consider its recommended alternate route on the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge during Poplar Street Bridge construction.
Other alternatives include the Eads Bridge and Martin Luther King Bridge.