MoDOT held a public meeting on this project in October 2017 to discuss this project.
The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission awarded the contract for this project to KCI Construction for $51.1 million in June 2018.
Construction on the project has begun. Crews are working on the westbound bridge.
The first portion of the project is to construct the new westbound bridge between the existing westbound and eastbound bridges.
The ramp from northbound I-270 to westbound I-44 will shift as part of on-going traffic control around the project.
The ramp from southbound I-270 to westbound I-44 will shift several times to construct and complete the new ramp.
Eastbound traffic will shift to the new westbound bridge, when it is completed.
Crews will demolish the old eastbound bridge.
After the old bridge has been removed, crews will build a new eastbound bridge in the same location
Crews will construct a bridge to carry a new shared use path over the Meramec River.
Once the new eastbound bridge is completed, crews will shift eastbound traffic onto the new bridge and westbound traffic onto the new westbound bridge.
Crews will close the ramp from westbound Route 366 (Watson Road) bridge to westbound I-44 to remove and replace a bridge over the interstate that is on the ramp.
Crews will close the eastbound I-44 to eastbound Route 366 (Watson Road) ramp to remove and replace a bridge on the ramp.
ST. LOUIS – Drivers heading from northbound I-270 to westbound I-44 next week should slow down and pay attention as crews will shift the ramp between the two interstates as part of ongoing construction for the Meramec River Bridge project.
ST. LOUIS – Drivers heading west on I-44 during evening rush may want to consider adjusting their commute times, or using alternate routes, as MoDOT will close one westbound I-44 lane between I-270 and Bowles for Meramec River Bridge construction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Will there be a bike lane with this project?
After MoDOT’s public informational open house on the Meramec River Bridge project, the department received a great deal of feedback from the community on their thoughts about a connection between the east and west sides of the Meramec for cyclists and pedestrians. The majority of that feedback was in support of some form of a cyclist/pedestrian crossing near I-44. Since that time, MoDOT has partnered with Great Rivers Greenway and the surrounding municipalities to come to an agreement about constructing a shared-use path across the river. On March 13, 2018, the department came to a formal agreement with Great Rivers Greenway about a partnership to construct a 12-foot protected path for walking and biking on the bridge, and it continues to work with local municipalities about funding to connect that bridge path to existing trails on either side of the bridge. Ultimately, the intent is to link to the existing Meramec Greenway, Emmenegger Nature Park, Powder Valley Center and Conservation Area and Possum Woods Conservation Area. As the project continues toward the start of construction in fall 2018, we will continue to provide updates on the details of this solution.