Weather permitting, off-peak lane closures on the river bridge will occur from 09:00 to 15:00 daily from 9/18 to 9/21, as IDOT crews are expected to do more patching.  While delays are expected as soon as you cross the canal bridge, do not be surprised to see delays stretch towards 255.  Expect reduced speed limits, higher police presence enforcing the speed limits, and delays.

Advertisements

On the afternoon of 9/16, expect at least 1000 motorcycles to make their way on WB 270 from Route 3 through North County as the infamous annual ride known as Ride of the Century makes its return.  The organizers keep the exact route details under wraps but almost every year that this event is run they have used this section of 270. (2013 was an exception due to the weather.)

If you are wondering why this post has to be made every year, it is not about giving these people attention – its about warning the people that use this section of 270 about the illegal acts that they may engage. We have not seen any sideshows or rolling freeway shutdowns up here in the past years, but we have seen incidents and a lot of wheelies.

Speaking of incidents, this one last year still grinds the gears a bit:

This video is from two years ago

What you should expect:

  1. Rolling mainline closures anytime between 13:00 to 17:00 on Saturday.  The exact time they cross will be random but in past years it was between 14:30 to 15:30.
  2. People involved in the ride will be making poor decisions.  With at least 1000 motorcycles involved there will always be “that guy” moments.
  3. Professional stunt bike riders will likely be in the front of the pack.
  4. Heavier than normal police enforcement – Saturday has been a major speed trap enforcement day on 270 in recent weeks – don’t be surprised to see bears in the air.

If you get caught up, give these riders the right of way but do not pull over.  Most of these riders will be making use of the shoulders.

Weather permitting, one lane of EB 270 will be closed at the river bridge from 09:00 to 12:00 for IDOT crews to conduct bridge inspections tomorrow. The crews will also be at the Clark Bridge but that will be much later in the day. Expect delays to Lilac.

This comes on the heels of last week unannounced EB 270 lane closure that lasted most of the off peak period.

The following day the evening peak period saw a lot of crews near the canal bridge – while the alleged incident was westbound the outcome was very tragic. Not knowing all the details and respecting privacy the admins are not going into the details.  Prayers are with the family at the time.

The rough week was topped off with an peak hour incident on Friday morning on the westbound lanes west of Riverview that took 40 minutes to clear.

Fog risk forecast returning

Posted: 2017/09/11 in Weather
Tags:

As the colder weather months approaches, the fog risk forecast is returning as the prime time for river fog and eventually inversion type fog will return.  In recent weeks there have been posts on Facebook on nights where there were favorable conditions for such development, and almost every morning those posts were confirmed.

The reason why risk forecasts are posted from September through May starting last season was a good reason: river fog during the fall, winter, and spring months has the potential for a AM peak disaster.  The risk falls under a few categories and other weather conditions may play in a role in the risk.

Low – the conditions for fog to develop are not favorable

Medium – favorable conditions exist but not likely to cause the NWS to release Dense Fog Advisories

High – favorable conditions exist AND the NWS is likely to release Dense Fog Advisories

 

Fog risk forecasts are only posted via the Facebook page, likely on Sunday evenings.  The forecasts for early week are more likely going to be accurate than late in the week so there will be time that Thursday/Friday risk will be deferred.  Unless otherwise noted the risk will only be valid from 05:00 to 09:00.

Why is River Fog so dangerous?

Some of the biggest epic fails during the fall and winter months came on mornings that conditions for river fog to develop were favorable – which is warm days, cool nights, and a lack of a wind.  River fog only develops late at night or first thing in the morning around or near sunrise, and is much more likely to develop over or near a body of water.  It tends to dissipate late in the morning. From October through April, the temperatures in the morning can flirt with the freezing point and that can turn fog into ice.

What is Inversion Fog?

Inversion fog is more likely to occur during this time of the year and it can occur at any time of the day.  It is essentially warm air trapped over cold ground with a lack of wind.  The main difference is that it can last 24/7 and it is not limited to the river valleys.  It too can occur when the temperatures are at or below freezing.  Unlike River Fog that can happen on a sunny day, inversion fog usually occurs on a cloudy or rainy day, but there are times it can occur on a clear day when there is snow on the ground.

While the potential of the heavy traffic from this weather event has been ignored by the admins due to other more pressing reasons (thanks to IDOT that decides to load the entire month of August so far with a lot of lane closures on 270 including the weekend before the eclipse), the fact this is such a rare weather event people will be making the trip to this area.

While this section of 270 is essentially on the fringes of totality (it will not be at 100% path but it has to be very close to 99%), its clear that IDOT and MoDOT been posting stuff on social media.

Find a safe spot to pull over and wait out the event.  Don’t forget the appropriate glasses.  Most of the influx of traffic the day before has been near the SIU campus for an unrelated reason.  Most of the traffic congestion is right before and shortly after the eclipse begins, as the majority of the people from out of state have opted to use campgrounds.  Still there will be heavier than normal traffic for the time of day, especially in South County where that section of 270 is in the path of 100%.


IDOT has confirmed via a press release to what the construction VMS boards were advertising yesterday: a full WB 270 closure from Route 3 to the I-55 interchange in Troy. Crews from Micro-Surfacing Contractors LLC will be out to do the westbound half of 270, which is known to be in even worse shape than eastbound, and the consequences of missing the 05:00 Monday deadline is even worse than eastbound.  (HINT:  crews barely got EB 270 open in time)  The westbound closures are expected to have a much more disruptive effect than eastbound for various reasons, some which are obvious and some of it because of other road work on alternative routes that can come back and haunt IDOT in the event of an epic fail eastbound.

While access to the bridges do remain, it must be done via the back road system:

270MadCoAlts

The best alternate route is New Poag Road, and detours will be marked along 255 and New Poag Road.  The better detour is using a combination of Route 3, New Poag Road, 255, and Route 162, as IDOT has been bold enough to start construction projects on 55/70 and that includes a closure of 55/70 EB from 64 to 255 this weekend as well.  (There is closures on Route 143 just east of Route 3 that IDOT boldly planned a 270 EB detour route but made an about face the morning of the 11th.)

IMG_2786

Keep in mind this closure takes place right before the solar eclipse on August 21, and while the admins have not made a lot of mention about it because this area is largely on the fringes of that viewing area, it is certain that heavier than normal traffic may occur between 09:00 to 16:00.  A separate post regarding the eclipse will be made on Sunday, however, as the admins see the weekend closures as a larger priority.

IDOT has announced off-peak lane closures for westbound 270 at the river bridge on various dates in the next week from 09:00 to 15:00, weather permitting.

The patches that had failed or about to fail.

The bottom line is to expect delays starting at the canal bridge and a reduced speed limit that will be enforced by the ISP.

Before the information with the closures gets posted, the morning peak this morning was marred with two incidents near the river bridge but within a mile of each other:

Only the one closest to Riverview happened within view of the cameras. This incident did not cause the problems until the crews were in the process of clearing it because there was a second incident about a mile to the east of that one.

Both incidents caused about 20-30 minutes in delays, but both happened in the month of August where the big ones are known to occur.

eb270closure

Now, the next subject is something that the admins posted photos on Saturday of the dates the EB 270 closure. It has now been confirmed by a IDOT press release, and while the bridges will remain open your access has been limited to a combination of New Poag Road and Route 3 OR Pontoon Road and Route 3.  IDOT plans to close EB 270 from Route 3 all the way to Troy next weekend weather permitting, presumably to replace that awful pavement that dates back to the late 1990s (WB 270 pavement is even worse than EB).  The problem is that with an event at Tri City Speedway on Friday evening, there could be hassle in getting to the bridge.  Chain of Rocks Road is an alternate if you are willing to use Maryville Road to cross the railroad tracks, but for the tractor-trailer drivers that utilize the Pontoon Beach distribution centers must use New Poag Road as an alternate as Pontoon Road is off limits to tractor-trailers except the ones that are making local deliveries along that street.

For the detours east of 255, it is mostly 162 and Governors Parkway.  This area, along with North County, is not known to have useful detour routes in the east-west direction.  New Poag Road ultimately goes into 157 and 143 into downtown Edwardsville.  If you are coming out of the Riverbend, it may be wiser to use the Clark Bridge and call it a day.

IDOT announced that starting July 30, there will be overnight restrictions on 270 between Route 3 and Troy, weather permitting.  One lane will be closed between 19:00 to 05:00 in random locations between MM 3 to MM 16 for the purpose of pavement repairs.  (They really need to resurface the entire mainline, not do band aids.)

Expect reduced speed limits (in Illinois you know they can have them up 24/7/365), heavier than normal police enforcement by the state cops, and delays that could go up to 30 minutes or even longer.  We already have an admin that makes regular use of this area during the overnight hours and as such expect the social media accounts to be occasionally monitored until midnight.  The admins do not want to hear about such and such happening while we were sleeping nonsense as there was plenty of that back in June during the overnight construction in North County.

UPDATE 09:45 7/28/17 – IDOT has confirmed via press release that there WILL be weekend closures related to this project but that weekend has not been announced.  When that weekend has been announced it will be posted within 24 hours.

The admins are aware that the third Saturday in September is the date the infamous Ride of the Century will take place – that event takes place during the afternoon hours.  A separate post will come a few days before that event.

Weather permitting, off peak daytime lane restrictions will happen on the river bridge from June 5 through June 8.

For Monday and Tuesday, one westbound lane will close from 09:00 to 15:00. Expect delays to begin near the Route 3 exit.

For Wednesday and Thursday, one eastbound lane will close from 08:00 to 15:00. Expect delays to begin near the Lilac exit.

Expect reduced speed limits on this section of 270 – and expect them to be enforced. Speaking of speed limits, we know this section is enforced on a regular basis as is:


This week is also the week where the DOT is conducting their annual safety check so truckers must take extra precautions and additional delays east of Route 3 may be encountered.