The bridges that carry Interstate 70 over the Lamine River near Boonville are due to get new driving surfaces and other repairs, work that will require closing one bridge at a time resulting in single-lane, head-to-head traffic on I-70 beginning July 12.
The bridge closures are expected to cause significant travel delays, especially on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays - peak travel days. Traffic studies show westbound traffic will be impacted more than eastbound, due in part to more traffic traveling west and the steeper road grade in the westbound lanes.
MoDOT officials are strongly encouraging I-70 motorists to use alternate east-west routes, such as U.S. Routes 50 and 36, while the project is in progress.
“We are looking at the potential for traffic to back up for several miles during peak travel times causing delays of more than an hour, maybe two,” said Patty Lemongelli, construction and materials engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Central District. “We can’t stress enough how important it is for cross-state travelers to consider taking different routes. If they choose to take I-70 through this area, they need to be sure to allow extra time for their travels.”
The eastbound bridge will be improved first and will take about 22 days. Work to switch traffic from the eastbound bridge to the westbound bridge will take place Sunday (July 10) and Monday (July 11) nights, with the full traffic switch occurring sometime during the day on Tuesday, July 12.
The westbound bridge will be repaired after the eastbound bridge is finished and that work will last about 23 days. Both bridges are scheduled to be completed by the end of August, at which time traffic flow will return to two lanes in each direction.
All drivers are encouraged to use the zipper merge technique on the approach to the work zone, which means using both lanes all the way to the merge point, then taking turns to merge into the open lane.
When motorists use both lanes of traffic until reaching the defined merge area and then alternate in "zipper" fashion into the open lane, the overall length of the traffic backup could be reduced by 40-50 percent.
More information about the zipper merge can be found at http://www.modot.org/workzones/ZipperMerge.htm.
The message boards along I-70 will alert motorists to the bridge work. In addition, a Smart Work Zone system is in place to keep motorists informed and traffic moving. The system uses cameras and sensors to determine travel times through the project limits and provide real-time travel updates to motorists via message boards.
Other tools that provide traffic information to motorists, include:
- Traveler Information Map - located at www.modot.org, the map provides a variety of tools to help drivers see current traffic conditions on I-70, including incidents, real-time traffic flow and traffic cameras.
- Incidents - Vehicle crashes and other incidents are noted on the map, which will inform drivers that the road is closed, to expect delays or that delays are possible.
- Real-time traffic flow - The map also shows real-time traffic flow, with green showing traffic is moving normally, yellow indicating that traffic is moving at a medium rate and red meaning traffic is moving slowly.
- Traffic cameras - There are traffic cameras spanning the I-70 corridor between St. Louis and Kansas City.
- E-mail updates – MoDOT will provide periodic updates on the project’s progress to e-mail subscribers. Visit www.modot.org/central to sign up for this option.
- 24-hour toll-free number – MoDOT’s toll-free number – 888-275-6636 – is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Callers can speak with a customer service representative to get the latest traffic information.
- Carpooling links – MoDOT’s website offers links to carpooling resources that help link people who want to carpool. For more information, visit http://www.modot.org/services/carpools/CarpoolConnections.htm.
- Project website – Information about the project is updated regularly and can be found at www.modot.org/central/I70LamineBridge.htm.