Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Mississippi River Bridge Lanes to Disappear Behind Construction Cones

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Mississippi River Bridge Lanes to Disappear Behind Construction Cones

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * Since the opening of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge in February, Illinois motorists heading into downtown St. Louis have been awash in commuting options.

Now some lanes on the bountiful downtown river crossings are starting to disappear, resulting in some tough choices for those who haven't discovered or can't practically use the Interstate 70 Stan Span.

"There are no options, really," said Lisa Levin of Waterloo. "Truthfully, I would have to go way past to catch the new bridge. It's really not an option."

On Tuesday, Missouri and Illinois transportation planners reminded drivers that they were closing one lane of the westbound Poplar Street Bridge this week, along with the ramp carrying traffic to the depressed section of Interstate 44 toward Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

Traffic lanes on the historic Eads Bridge have gone to two lanes from four lanes while the Metro transit agency rehabs that crossing. And in August, the Illinois Department of Transportation will close all three lanes of the Martin Luther King Bridge for more than seven months to make repairs.

The far-right lane of the Poplar Street Bridge will remain closed through August 2015 and the curving ramp will be closed for about a year, beginning Wednesday morning, while crews replace it with a wider structure that will make it easier for trucks to make the turn.

"We do expect there will be some significant delays that will be associated with this," said Deanna Venker, MoDOT's area engineer for the city of St. Louis.

The westbound lane and ramp closures are the first step in a $25 million project to rebuild two ramps and resurface the westbound driving lanes of the Poplar Street Bridge.

There will be periods over the next year and a half when there will be as many as two westbound lanes closed on the Poplar Street Bridge. Transportation officials in Illinois and Missouri urged drivers to find alternative routes, including the Martin Luther King and four-lane Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Levin, who works at AT&T in downtown St. Louis, said she would probably take the Jefferson Barracks Bridge to Interstate 55 into downtown St. …

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