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Grand over I-44 replacement

The above slide show shows some images of the Grand bridge over I-44.  Over the past five years, the department has made some significant patches to the bridge due to the on-going deterioration.  Winter weather has a very large impact on older bridges.  Water gets into the bridge through patches and then freezes inside the bridge, chipping away the concrete that holds the bridge together.  The bridge is safe – if the department believed otherwise, it would close lanes or the bridge.

 

What is the situation?

The Grand bridge over I-44 in St. Louis City is old. Built in 1969, the bridge is one of a few remaining bridges along I-44 that are below the standard height for bridges over an interstate. The bridge is deteriorated and needs to be replaced.  Since 2011, the department has done a lot of maintenance work on the bridge to keep in in operating condition.  

The bridge is safe.  However, winter is tough on bridges. Our bridge engineers are concerned that if the bridge is not replaced before next winter, we will need to close lanes or the bridge for an extended period of time. At a minimum, there is a high possibility that certain vehicles, such as Metro buses or delivery trucks will be prohibited from using the bridge. In addition, there is a high potential of concrete from the bottom of the bridge falling onto I-44 traffic. The department would rather have a planned closure this year, than risk an unplanned long-term closure this winter or next spring.

Click here to be added to the e-mail update list for the Grand project.

Will Grand be closed?

No -- the department will keep two lanes open at all times.  For the most part, drivers will be able to make a left turn from the interstate onto Grand, but will not be able to turn from northbound Grand to westbound I-44 or from southbound Grand to eastbound I-44.  There will also be a two week period where both interstate ramps on the west side of Grand will be closed.  During that two weeks, drivers will still be able to turn left onto Grand from westbound I-44, but will not be able to continue across Grand on Lafayette. In addition, there is a two week period where both interstate ramps on the east side of Grand will be closed. During that time, cars will be able to turn left from eastbound I-44 onto northbound Grand; large trucks, however, will be prohibited from turning left due to safety. Trucks should use use the ramp at eastbound I-44 and Jefferson. Pedestrians will be able to cross the bridge during construction. Cyclists will need to take the lane across the bridge.

What is the current plan?

This summer, MoDOT will remove, raise and replace the Grand bridge over I-44 in two stages. During the work, two lanes will remain open in each direction on Grand. Construction has started on the reconstruction, with all driving lanes scheduled to reopen by the end of the year.  Some work that doesn’t impact the driving lanes will be completed in spring 2017.

During construction, two lanes will remain open in each direction on Grand. Grand will not be completely closed. Drivers on eastbound and westbound I-44 will be able to access both directions of Grand, for most of the construction. There will be one two-week period where the interstate ramps on the west side of the bridge will be closed, and one two-week period where the interstate ramps on the east side of the bridge will be closed. Drivers will not be able to turn from northbound Grand to westbound I-44 or from soutbound Grand to eastbound I-44.

When the bridge construction is complete, drivers will have two northbound and two southbound lanes, and a dedicated left turn lane. In addition, cyclists will have a dedicated lane along the bridge in both directions. Pedestrians will have a sidewalk on each side, as well.

Because of the concerns about the flow of traffic along city streets and the interstates, MoDOT has committed to doing the following during the construction of the Grand bridge:

  • Have contractor and department traffic engineers monitoring signal times
  • Have crews driving along the detour routes to determine peak traffic times
  • Share information on the best routes and times for commutes
  • Widen the offramp at eastbound I-44 and Jefferson to better handle traffic.
  • Provide an incentive to the contractor for completing the project (open fully to traffic) early
  • Share information through updates and on the website to help customers get to businesses

 

How will the bridge be replaced?

Construction starts in June. Drivers can expect:

  • June-August: All traffic is moved to the northbound bridge. Drivers will have two southbound lanes and two northbound lanes – they will be narrow (9.5 feet)  Drivers will be able to turn left from the eastbound ramp to northbound Grand and turn left from the westbound ramp to southbound Grand.  They will also be able to cross over Grand on Lafayette.  They will not be able to make left turns onto the interstate, but will be able to make right turns.  Bikes will have to use one of the through traffic lanes during construction .
  • August-September: Work begins on the ramps connecting to the southbound bridge.  The ramp from eastbound I-44 (Detonty) and the ramp to westbound I-44 (Lafayette) will be closed for two weeks. Two lanes will remain on both northbound and southbound Grand.  Drivers will not be able to turn left from northbound Grand to westbound Lafayette, and will not be able to turn left from northbound Grand to I-44.  There will be one left turn from westbound Lafayette to Grand.
  • August-September: Work begins on the ramps connecting to the northbound bridge.  The ramp to eastbound I-44 and Lafayette is closed at the ramp from westbound I-44. The westbound off-ramp stays open. Two lanes will remain on both northbound and southbound Grand.  Cars will be able to turn left from the eastbound I-44 ramp (Detonty) to northbound Grand, but trucks will not be allowed to turn left for safety. Trucks will need to use the I-44 ramp at Jefferson. Lafayette approaching Grand will be closed at Louisiana.  Local traffic will be able to come up to Salas Center. Drivers will not be able to turn left from southbound Grand to eastbound Lafayette, and will not be able to turn left onto eastbound I-44. 
  • September – Dec. 1: All traffic is moved to the new southbound bridge. Drivers will have two southbound and two northbound lanes (narrow – 9.5 feet) on Grand. .  Cars will be able to turn left from the eastbound I-44 ramp (Detonty) to northbound Grand, but trucks will not be allowed to turn left for safety. Trucks will need to use the I-44 ramp at Jefferson. Traffic on westbound Lafayette will be able to make a left onto southbound Grand and will be able to cross Grand to continue on Lafayette.  There will be no left from southbound Grand to eastbound I-44 or eastbound Layfayette. There will be no left from northbound Grand to westbound I-44.

* All dates are weather dependent and subject to change.

What are the suggested detours?

During construction, we will continue to maintain north-south connections across Grand. We will also allow drivers to use the interstate off-ramps, except for two two-week periods as we work on the ramps.  Traffic can still turn right onto the interstate through construction, except for those two-week periods.  We know rush hours will be difficult, but drivers can use I-64 to and from downtown.  There is still interstate access at Hampton, Kingshighway to the north, Vandeventer, Jefferson and Lafayette. In addition there are several local overpasses and underpasses for residents to move north and south.

Why is this work being done at the same time as the Kingshighway construction?

The bridge is safe.  However, winter is tough on bridges. Our bridge engineers are concerned that if the bridge is not replaced before next winter, we will need to close lanes, or place load restrictions on the bridge, for an extended period of time, until we are able to replace the bridge. In addition, there is a high potential of concrete from the bottom of the bridge falling onto I-44 traffic.  The department would rather have a planned closure this year, than risk an unplanned long-term closure this winter or next spring.

There are many bridges along I-44 which are reaching the end of their life span and need renovation or replacement. These bridges are safe, but need to have work completed on them to continue to allow vehicles to use them. With as many bridges on the interstate as there are, we cannot afford to only have one bridge on the corridor closed at a time for renovations or repair. As we plan and develop projects, we look at the overall impact of the roadway network, to include that caused by work being done on other surrounding roadways.  Since Kingshighway is fully closed south of I-44 and using Vandeventer as a detour route, we chose to reconstruct the Grand bridge under a 6-month staging configuration and use Jefferson as the detour.  We will be able to provide the north-south connection along Grand that Kingshighway does not.  We will also maintain pedestrian access across the bridge during construction.  Outside of the signed detours, we have I-44 access at Hampton, Kingshighway to/from the north and Lafayette as well as several overpasses/underpasses for residents to get around.

 

Click here to be added to the e-mail update list for the Grand project.

 
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