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I-44 Meramec River Bridges

I-44 Meramec River Bridges west of I-270

and I-44 bridges to Geyer/Route 366

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What is the problem?

Many of the bridges on the I-44 corridor are at least 50 years old and need significant renovation or rebuilding.  The older bridges in this project were built in the 1950s when speeds and traffic demands were much lower.

I-44 at I-270 Meramec River Bridges slide show

Didn’t MoDOT just renovate those bridges? Why rebuild them now?

MoDOT did complete a minor renovation of both the eastbound and westbound bridges on  I-44 over the Meramec River about two years ago.  That renovation was completed when funding levels were expected to be significantly lower and was intended to be a stopgap measure until funding was determined to replace the bridges, in about five to 10 years. Since it will take several years until the project is complete, the bridges will be within that five to 10 year timeframe. The bridges will remain safe until construction is complete.  

What changes can drivers expect as a part of the project?

Since the bridges and the basic I-270/I-44 interchange were built, traffic volumes have steadily increased.  The interchange does not operate as effectively as it could, so the department is implementing some changes to how traffic enters and exits I-44.  The biggest impact will be that the entrance ramp from I-270 and the entrance ramp from Watson Road (Route 366) to westbound I-44, and the exit ramp from Soccer Park from westbound I-44  will cross the river on a separate bridge from the westbound lanes.  The department is also making some improvements to ramps from eastbound I-44 to I-270, making the curves a little easier to navigate. The department will also add a lane to the eastbound I-44 bridge over the Meramec to allow a dedicated exit lane for northbound and southbound I-270 and three through lanes on I-44.

Project overview - click to see a larger image

What construction impacts can drivers expect?

For the Watson Road (Route 366) Bridges, both bridges will be closed, most likely during the summer months, (not at the same time, however).  The posted detour will be to use Lindbergh to enter and exit I-44 while the new Watson Road bridges are built.

There will be impacts to drivers for the construction of the new bridges over the Meramec.  Drivers should expect one lane closed around the clock, mostly on westbound I-44, for much of the project. Additionally, drivers can expect weekend closures as crews rebuild or connect several of the ramps.

The ramp from westbound Watson Road to westbound I-44 will be closed for a significant amount of time during the project; however drivers will be able to use Lindbergh to detour around the closure. Crews will build one bridge at a time, but drivers can expect traffic shifts and switches as those bridges are constructed.  There may be additional off-peak lane closures for the bridge construction. When we build the new connections between the existing roadway and the bridges, there will be some additional impacts to traffic with some longer term lane closures. We'll share those impacts as we get closer, and drivers can sign up for e-updates here.

What are the expected detours?

While the eastbound ramp to Watson Road is closed, the marked detour will be to take I-44 east to the Lindbergh exit and then take Lindbergh south to Watson Road. While the westbound ramp from Watson Road is closed, the marked detour will be to take Lindbergh to westbound I-44.

EB I-44 to Watson Road detour

Detour during EB I-44 to EB Watson Road bridge closure

WB Watson to I-44 and I-270 detourDetour during WB Watson Road to WB I-44/SB I-270 bridge closure

What is the timeline?

Conceptual Plans

Fall 2017

Public informational meeting

November 2017

Project start

Fall 2018

Construction starts westbound

Fall 2018

Eastbound traffic switches

Late 2019

Construction finished eastbound

Mid 2021

Construction complete

Late 2021


Will sound walls be constructed with this project?

Although the roadway is being relocated, there are several other criteria, all of which must be met for MoDOT to consider constructing sound walls. This project does not meet at least two of those criteria.  Sound walls will not be constructed as a part of this work.

Will this project improve or decrease flooding along the Meramec?

This project will do neither.  As part of any project in a floodplain, MoDOT must design the project to have no additional impact on flooding, based on the current Corps of Engineers flood map projections.

What happens to the old westbound bridge?

MoDOT reached out to several of our partners, including the municipalities on either side of the bridge.  None of them were willing to take maintenance responsibility for the bridge for their own uses, so the bridge will be demolished at the end of the project.


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