Missouri Department of Transportation will close the westbound span of the Blanchette Bridge for a major reconstruction project for a year starting this weekend.
Missouri Department of Transportation District Engineer Ed Hassinger said I-70 is a great route during the day, but encourages drivers to seek alternate routes during rush hour.
"This is vital work that we need to do to keep I-70 a viable cross country corridor, but we can do that in a way that will keep the businesses functioning and get commuters to work," Hassinger said. "We're going to do this really fast."
Tom Evers, St. Charles County Area Engineer for MoDOT anticipates traffic may be congested on Monday.
"We know there's going to be a lot of people who may not know what to expect so they may go their same route," he said.
Evers said it may take awhile for people to figure out what their right alternate route will be. MoDOT will track the different routes to try to find out which are the most-heavily traveled.
Here are 9 things you need to know about the reconstruction and closure:
1. Starting at noon on Friday, Interestate 70 will go from 5 lanes in each direction to 3 lanes in each direction. By Sunday, all six lanes of traffic will cross the river on the eastbound span of the bridge before splitting back into two separate sides of the highway.
2. Temporary medians that are drilled into the bridge will separate westbound traffic from eastbound traffic on the bridge. That way, if someone hits a median, it'll stay in place, according to Tom Evers, area engineer for St. Charles County.
3. Traffic is expected to be most congested during rush hour and especially during the first few weeks of the reconstruction.
4. Alternate routes to get over the bridge include Interstate 364 and Highway 370. MoDOT has made improvements to those roads to accomodate the additional traffic. See these maps which will get drivers from the alternate roads to downtown St. Charles.
5. Need to give someone directions on getting to St. Charles? Try these directions you can read over the phone.
6. MoDOT plans to close the northbound Fifth Street entrance ramp to eastbound Interstate 70 starting at noon Friday. The southbound Fifth Street entrance ramp onto eastbound Interstate 70 will have a light that will moderate the flow of traffic on to the highway.
7. The entire bridge will be closed for about an hour while MoDOT blasts the trusses of the bridge. In addition, parts of Ameristar Casino will be evacuated for safety purposes during the blasts. These are expected to happen in mid November and December.
8. You can watch the progress and construction on the bridge from this feed on MoDOT's website.
9. Ridefinders offers commuters another option to share a ride to work. Learn more here.
You might be interested in these other articles:
- Directions for Getting to Downtown St. Charles During Blanchette Bridge Closure
- New Signs Will Direct Traffic to St. Charles During Bridge Closure
- St. Charles Plans for 'Significant' Decline in Gaming Revenue Due to Bridge Construction