>Why this is a safety issue

Posted: 2011/03/19 in safety

>Since December, the number of incidents on the bridge has been alarming. Lately I been keeping a close eye on the tweets made by MoDOT from their StLouisTraffic twitter feed, and the number of incidents have increased since this blog was started. Besides the all too obvious incident on December 8 here is a short list of other notable incidents that did happen (some of the links provided have images that is disturbing):

December 19 late afternoon incident that had a stalled pickup and a tractor-trailer, in a fashion too similar to what happened on December 8. The only difference was that the pickup driver decided to run away from the scene, and ended up walking away from this. Like the December 8 incident, the bridge had to be shut down completely to clear the scene, but only for 2 hours instead of 10 hours.

January 9, 2011 had another rear-ender that started with a stalled vehicle in the westbound lanes. This one did not completely close the bridge but the damage was done as traffic was down to one lane to clear it.

On February 18, a car loses control and flips in the westbound lanes, causing traffic again to go down to one lane.

Here is some of the various tweets that MoDOT posted since December through their StLouisTraffic page:

  1. StLouisTraffic

    CLEARED: EB I-270 @ MISSISSIPPI RIVER

  2. StLouisTraffic

    NEW: STALLED TT EB I-270 @ MISSISSIPPI RIVER RL

  3. StLouisTraffic

    CLEARED: EB I-270 AT CHAIN OF ROCKS

  4. StLouisTraffic

    NEW: STALL EB I-270 AT CHAIN OF ROCKS RL

  1. StLouisTraffic

    CLEARED: EB I-270 AT MISS RIVER

  2. StLouisTraffic

    NEW: CRASH EB I-270 AT MISS RIVER ALL LNS CLOSED

  3. StLouisTraffic

    CLEARED: EB I-270 AT MISSISSIPPI RIVER

  4. StLouisTraffic

    NEW: STALL EB I-270 AT MISSISSIPPI RIVER RL

  5. StLouisTraffic

    CLEARED: WB I-270 AT MISSISSIPPI RVR BRDGE

  6. StLouisTraffic

    NEW: STALL WB I-270 AT MISSISSIPPI RVR BRDGE RL

  7. StLouisTraffic

    CLEARED: WB I-270 AT MISSISSIPPI RIVER

  8. StLouisTraffic

    NEW: CRASH WB I-270 AT MISSISSIPPI RIVER CLOSED

The December 8 incident was not the first catastrophe that ever happened, and the scary thing about that incident it only involved two vehicles. (The time of the day the incident happened and the widespread media coverage played a big factor.) The incident on December 19 also involved just two vehicles (but did not get as much media coverage because it was a Sunday afternoon). Get an incident much like the one that happened on Highway 40 in downtown St. Louis during a surprise freezing rain event last month and lets see how much hell it will cause. To be honest, I rather not know what outcome that would have. The June 13, 2000 incident on the canal bridge would be the closest thing of an chain-reaction incident that I can remember off the top of my head and that incident stalled traffic in the River Bend region for hours. The December 8 incident stalled the River Bend and much of the Metro-East well into the afternoon despite the fact the incident occurred before morning rush hour even started.

With all those smart phones out there capable of recording video it will be a matter of time before the next incident happens that gets caught on camera. The locals are getting fed up by IDOT so called “no build” strategy on this section of 270, which has been going on as long as I can remember. Its not a matter of adding capacity, instead its a matter of safety. I have known people that had bad wrecks on the bridge, and others that changed their jobs just so they don’t have to cross the river on the bridge.

The next time MoDOT or IDOT decides on a public hearing on the 270 corridor in this area, we need to just show up and let them have it. We waited way too long for a solution to be found. I don’t give a care about the costs, we need a solution and we need it now before more dates like December 8, 2010 happen.

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