Once again, the weather is expected to hold off to allow crews from Kinney Contractors to do weekend lane restrictions westbound at the river bridge.  The lane restriction will last from 9 AM today until 5 AM Monday.

While we don’t anticipate delays of three hours like it allegedly happened on the other side of the 270/255 loop on Wednesday, delays up to 60 minutes during the Friday evening peak period is possible.

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After several weekends of poor weather that kept crews away, the recent run of nice weather has brought out the construction cones in the Riverbend area.constructioncat

Not only westbound 270 is going to be affected at the river bridge this weekend, IDOT crews are bold enough to close a section of 55/64 between the 55/70/64 split and Route 3 this weekend as well:

 

As such expect delays up to 60 minutes if you are going westbound, with the longer delays more likely as the evening peak is going on.


For the second straight weekend crews will be out closing the right lane westbound at the river bridge.  The closures will begin at 9 this morning and last until the wee hours of early Monday morning.

In short, expect long delays especially during the day on Friday – potentially up to 60 minutes. These were taken last weekend just to jog the memory:

With any construction zone, reduced speed limits and an increased ISP presence is expected. There was a reason why this got shared last night:

Crews will be out this morning almost as soon as the morning peak ends on the westbound lanes, and the right lane will not reopen until the morning peak on Monday.

Expect delays for Friday, especially in the evening peak hour where westbound traffic could back up all the way to 255. Since the westbound lanes are actually in poor shape (complete with that steel plate near the Riverview ramp), the consequences of the crews missing that 5 AM Monday morning deadline can be severe.

Heavier than normal state police enforcement can be expected this weekend, due to the reduced speed limits and because this was posted yesterday:

not-snow-a

The anything goes mentality of weather in this area showed as temperatures were flirting with 80s last week only to get a quick shot of snow early Saturday, and now yesterday temperatures were in the low 70s now to deal with rain changing to freezing rain.

The uncertainty of the models on Sunday made the admins go with the medium peak for Wednesday but when the NWS issued advisories for Wednesday (after the 3 PM deadline to get stuff posted here because of work) the risk was upgraded to high.

The NWS has issued an Winter Weather Advisory but we expect it to be extended or modified later today:

The high risk may have been justified after this happened at the end of the evening peak on Tuesday:

The NWS just issued a Winter Weather Advisory for this evening on this section of 270 for favorable chances of mist, freezing rain, and to an lesser extent inversion fog and snow.  While up to .10 of ice and/or 1 inch of sleet/snow mix is expected, the main issue is that it takes very little ice to potentially cause big problems, this weekend is Mardi Gras weekend, and this area is relatively hilly.   Threat forecasts are typically not run on the weekends but the medium threats for both Thursday and Friday were there in the case the systems that dumped massive amounts of snow just 200 miles to the north ended up busting projected forecasts.  There is a likelihood this one can very well bust as well – the storm tracking just 20 or 30 miles to the south or north can make a big impact to what happens here.  Naturally I would prefer to wait until 4 to 6 hours out to make a post but I have to be at work later this afternoon and I usually go to bed around 5 in the morning.

futurama-one inch

Sunday evening when the risk forecast was written, there was very good confidence in that whatever was coming Tuesday was a threat.  However the weather models did a bit of a 180 on Monday, where at least an inch of snow probability went from 80% to 20% yet even .01 of ice remained roughly the same.

This morning the river fog threat got nullified by the winds that picked up and became strong enough – but less than 100 miles upstream patchy river fog was being reported along the Illinois River and confirmed by traffic cameras in Peoria.  I elected not to make the post before the AM peak and instead focused to watch the models when I woke up to see if the system moving this evening was moving in for the evening peak or holding off for later.

For this southern system it appears that the Gulf of Mexico is not being tapped.

This radar image from a tweet is telling me it has been tapped but not to the degree that causes the big Ohio Valley snow monsters. The SPC does have some Marginal Risk down in Mississippi and Louisiana but not the slight or enhanced risk that potent winter systems often brings.

As a result the forecast around here is up to an inch of snow and .10 of ice – but it will depend on how the system tracks as it goes through Arkansas. The NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory that starts at the tail end of the evening peak tonight and expected to last into the morning peak on Wednesday. The timing will be the big factor whether or not the evening peak is dicey or dry. The winter probabilistic were about 50% for an inch of snow and 10% for .01 of ice – a combination of the two is likely. (There is a sharp cutoff of 1% to 70% on .01 of ice between St. Louis and Mt. Vernon when it comes to the storm hitting the Metro East.)

The admins expect the very worst to happen just to the south. Either way it takes very little to cause big problems – and it was the case on Sunday when less than an inch of snow caused massive problems on 44 southwest of St. Louis. The bust potential with this system is still high so if there is one that does happen pray it goes in our favor.

DISCLAIMER – this is just for the system tonight.  The one for tomorrow is still up in the air and will be posted after I get home from work between 01:00 to 02:00 Tuesday morning.

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The image provided from the NWS late this morning is something that the admins were suspecting that Monday evening could happen.  When the risk forecast was written early this morning (shortly after midnight), the possibility was that we were on the fringes of the system moving through Monday evening but at a poor time.  Thus we had the threat at medium for favorable chances.

I stayed up until 06:00 to see what the morning local media was saying and there was no indication from two different TV channels that the threat needed to be upgraded.  Both were still acting like we were on the fringes.

I woke up around 13:00 and the first thing I checked was Facebook.  First thing on my feed was a winter weather advisory issued for this evening for this entire section of 270.  Thus we made the call to upgrade the threat to HIGH for this evening.  The NWS is thinking mist and drizzle with freezing temperatures will be coming in time for the evening peak.

Plan for a nightmare evening peak should the weather move in.  Yesterday a quick shot of snow moved in at a poor time – thankfully it was a Sunday – but in that section of 44 that is just southwest of St. Louis that is in rugged terrain – less than an inch of snow caused four different sections to close between Springfield and Rolla and couple of our other admins were sharing these posts on their personal Facebook accounts:

The emphasis is that it takes very little to cause big problems especially if it falls at a poor time. Given that 270 in North County is rather hilly, once a truck cannot navigate those hills due to the ice big problems can happen almost instantly.

Tonight can remind you what happened in December 2016 – when admins decided to disregard the local TV forecasts to make an emergency post – a decision that paid off here but less than 8 miles to the east of here on 270 was a different story all the way into Effingham.

potholes

Apparently the planned roadwork on Tuesday on the westbound lanes did not go to plan.  Around 15:00 crews were reportedly in the process of picking up the restrictions with the evening peak starting.  (I had to get ready to go to work.)  By the time 18:30 break at work came around there was at least one private message mentioning a lot of flat tires, the crews were westbound just west of Riverview dealing with flat tires, and then road crews were back at it on an emergency basis until very late that night.

patchjob

Image taken from one of the admins is of a notorious problem spot westbound taken in March 2016.  This area is now sporting a steel plate according to our followers.

The potholes have really popped following a run of very cold temperatures earlier this month that was followed up with a nasty freeze-thaw pattern.  The freeze thaw pattern isn’t going away anytime soon and the very recent January thaw lured out the road crews in a big way.  Last week they did westbound lane closures with virtually last minute notice, so we apologize for not getting that message out there.  They did more work on Tuesday which didn’t go to plan.  Now they are turning their focus eastbound:

 

While the condition of the deck in the eastbound lanes is not as bad as the westbound, there has been at least two spots with potholes in the past few months because I recalled hitting one of them at full speed while heading home from work when I was at my former employer.

The admins do not have recent photos of the alleged potholes. I have not made regular use since I changed employers in October and the other admins don’t take photos unless its an emergency.

The recent January thaw after what was a bitterly cold few weeks may have lured road crews to get a jump on the repairs and as a result late last week IDOT announced at the last minute of lane restrictions on the westbound lanes. More repairs are coming later this morning starting at 09:00 and going to 15:00 for the westbound lanes on the river bridge.