Archive for the ‘accident’ Category

UPDATE 14:00 12/6/17:  The victim died from her injuries Tuesday evening with family by her side.  The family is from out of state and has requested donations to fly her body back home.  Our hearts and prayers are with the family at this time.

Around 20:00 last night, someone in a vehicle allegedly opened fire at another vehicle on westbound 270 between 367 and Old Halls Ferry, causing emergency crews to close all westbound lanes and multiple ramps at the 270/367 interchange for approximately two hours.

If you had noticed, the admins broke the news within minutes of the incident because on a normal basis 367 is the location where the traffic from the Clark Bridge commute and the normal 270 commute starts to mingle. Had an incident happened during a peak period, the backup would easily went into Illinois. This incident caused westbound 270 to back up to Bellefontaine, and caused major delays on the ramp to Dunn Road from northbound 367 as Dunn Road remained open and a lot of people went straight for that option. Throughout the livestream the detour route that was emphasized was Parker Road as it will get you back to Old Halls Ferry and New Florissant, where you can then return to 270.

This incident has summoned the Major Case Squad

No other details have been revealed since the lanes reopened.

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In the wee hours of Monday morning when the admins posted the fog risk threat for this week, there was more than enough factors in play to put Thursday morning at HIGH risk:  calm winds, a warm day, cool night, and most importantly temperatures expected to be near the freezing point.  After one of the admins got off work early Thursday morning around 02:00 – the fears were confirmed and by 04:30 the live feed cameras were only confirming what could been happening:

As the morning lows dipped to 28 in Alton the admins made at least two posts on Facebook warning that river fog was present with the freezing temperatures and extreme caution was to be taken.  If that was not enough, Laura Hettiger was running her mouth at least two times during the 05:00 hour on Channel 4 to be aware of the fog threat.  One of the admins went to bed before 06:00 and the other was on the way to work after 05:30 there was not a lot of monitoring on either the Facebook or Twitter accounts.

At or around 06:50, the first of the multiple incidents that happened in a 20 to 25 minute time window happened westbound west of 367 and a second happened eastbound between Lilac and Riverview:

Within 10 minutes this was being reported:

By the way, even around 06:45 there was still river fog in the area of the river bridge by a TV reporter that was making a trip across while en route to an unrelated story:

It was clear that the freezing river fog caused a few slick spots during the AM crunch time and as soon one happened, all shit broke loose.

The river bridge one was in a bad spot too causing crews from Mitchell Fire Department to walk to the scene to get to the people. Luckily only minor injuries were reported in this ordeal.

There were some live videos as well

In the end, the westbound lanes at the bridge were closed for over an hour and it takes at least 90 minutes before things return to normal. The average delay was at least 60 to 90 minutes.  This morning should reinforce why river fog under certain circumstances can lead to the big incidents and all three incidents were consistent with people allegedly driving too fast for the conditions.  In fact, we are approaching the 40th anniversary of one of the first epic fails that happened on this section of 270 and it happened on a morning with freezing temperatures and conditions favorable for river fog.  What happened this morning was minor compared to what happened on the morning of November 12, 1977, and back in the late 1970s there was not much of a morning news scene, no internet, no social media, and everyone relied on the evening newspaper to get their gossip and CB radio for traffic conditions.

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.

romanroad270

Really need to discuss a possible severe weather threat but since the SPC is putting this section of 270 on the fringes of the threat yet again the admins have decided instead to mouth off at a recent problem:

That incident during the evening peak last week caused at least two tire blowouts, one just to the east of Lilac and the second closer to the Riverview exit. Traffic was backed up to 367 and this was not the only alleged tire blowout reported.

Yesterday one of the admins drove by at least three blowouts between Lilac and 111. One of the vehicles lost an entire front right tire and was partially blocking an exit ramp waiting for help. There is a good 10 mile section of 270 between New Halls Ferry and 255 that tire debris is common place and the mainline pavement is a piece of shit (complete with a massive pothole at or near the 28.8 MM on the Missouri side and another just to the east of Route 203 – both in the eastbound lanes).  The very worse of the pavement is between Route 3 and Troy with both mainline lanes resembling the “washboard” pavement (complete with the apparent last resurfacing project approximately 20 years ago) from the heavy tractor-trailer usage.  There is another alleged spot on the westbound lanes of the river bridge just before the Riverview exit that looks like any attempt of a patching job ultimately fails over a period of time.

This has caused a lot of tires blowing out with at least 10 incidents since last week.  While the rainy weather has contributed, the tire blowouts usually occur when the temperatures are pushing 100 degrees, not 60 degrees.  With warmer weather out there the crews will likely be putting up the orange cones somewhere in this area this year although no major work has been announced.

The incident from this morning doesn’t appear to be from a blowout but there are pieces of tire visible in the foreground.

 

Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of the biggest epic fails when it comes to the Clark Bridge commute – and a record setting traffic jam on eastbound 270 that allegedly lasted 20 miles and went into a Saturday morning.

trafficnightmare1997

The Alton Telegraph front page from March 1, 1997

If you have been wondering why February 28, 1997 is not on the notable incidents list, that front page is a good explanation why.  The incident actually happened on Route 143 where it meets the Clark Bridge and happened at the stoplight.  How come it lead to a traffic nightmare on 270, a delay of a high school basketball game between the two biggest rivals, and a long evening for thousands of Riverbend residents?

There were several factors that came into play that afternoon:

  • Incident happened around 14:30, right before the start of the evening peak period.
  • It was a Friday afternoon, typically the busiest day of the week on 270.
  • That infamous construction project on 270 between Lilac and 255 was underway where one mainline lane was closed, a second mainline lane was being used as a “reversible lane” that only went eastbound during a 5 hour time window during week days.  This construction zone by itself was a traffic nightmare during the peak periods and for several months the Friday evening peak was a horror show regardless of the weather.  Incidents that happened in the construction zone happened almost every day, especially in the area near Route 111 and again near Route 3.  If that wasn’t bad enough, there were 8’6″ width restriction for the river bridge and a legal weight restriction.
  • There was another road construction project underway in North County on I-70.
  • 255 was not open north of 270.  (That would not occur for another 18 months.)
  • 270 still had the left exit at 170.  The section of 270 between 370 and New Florissant was a notorious choke point during the peak hour back then and it is still is twenty years later.
  • 367 was still in its very infamous configuration north of 270.

The incident happened when a tanker truck allegedly took the right turn from Landmarks to the southbound lanes of the Clark Bridge too fast and overturns.  The nature of the tanker truck forced the emergency crews no choice but to close the Clark Bridge in both directions (note the incident actually didn’t happen on the bridge), Route 143 from Route 3 to the Clark Bridge, and sections of 140 and 67.  367 remained open until the Fisca station but that is where people were being forced to turn around and return to 270.

How come the epic traffic jam formed on 270?  First of all, the Clark Bridge is the main alternate route when it comes to this section of 270.  Locals will use that bridge as an first choice alternate before any other bridge.  Conversely, when the Clark Bridge got closed for any reason the first choice alternate to those locals in the Riverbend was 270.  Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, closures on the Clark Bridge were common as the old bridge was still in use and almost every school district in the Riverbend mandated the school buses going into North County take 270.  While the new bridge put the end of a lot of those closures, the southbound lanes were still prone to flooding, there was an epic fail on 270 in 1994 that forced all traffic through Alton for days, and the consequences that occur when you couldn’t take 367 out of Alton were still fresh on the locals minds.

270 up in North County and in Illinois was a major trucking corridor, and while none of the distribution center buildings were built at the time of this incident, it was an common fact that at least 20-25% of the traffic was truck traffic.  Despite the construction, width limits, and weight limits, truckers decided that 270 through North County was a much better route than 70 through the City of St. Louis and decided to take the gamble.

The moment that the incident went around the radio stations, it was clear that anyone that normally went 270 across the infamous “Bridges of Madison County” were blurting out a lot of choice words.  This incident came at a time where there was no social media, cell phones did not have cameras, and text messaging was unheard of.

Westbound 270 would back up from 255 to Lilac, which was not an unusual sight on a Friday afternoon back in 1997.  What was unusual was that it went into the night.  The westbound drivers actually had it easy that night.  What about eastbound traffic?  It was the normal delay that happened between Dorsett and 70 and again from 370 to New Florissant.  Those delays were not unusual and started to occur at their usual times.  What wasn’t usual: the delay that went from New Florissant to 255, and to an lesser extent, the delay between 70 and 370.  There was an obvious traffic jam approaching Lilac, and past that point traffic went much slower than normal with a big choke point at Route 3.  The traffic jam across the river bridge was going strong even at midnight, which was very unusual even with the construction project underway.

The so called reversible lane?  Unless you were on 270 before Lilac and had no intention of exiting the mainline prior to Route 157, that lane was as good as useless and having an fail in that lane rendered you SOL.  In fact, it was set to westbound by default and unless it was a 5 hour window from Monday-Friday afternoon, all you had was a single eastbound lane.  All the problems in that construction zone were so bad that a state legislator from a neighboring district went out of the way to demand traffic cameras to be installed along the 270 mainline, media coverage of all the incidents was a common occurrence, and the locals knew to use the back roads.

Thus, there were choke points at Route 3 and 111 during this mess as the people were trying to get back into the Riverbend.  255 was NOT OPEN north of 270 when this happened, 111 was still a 2 lane road, and there were a lack of east-west alternate routes in this area on both sides of the river.

About the traffic nightmare in the Riverbend itself?  For several weeks prior to the accident, there were radio personalities on at least two stations bragging about Fast Eddies, and in fact there was a radio ad for that restaurant in Alton that bragged about the new Clark Bridge as the “Fast Eddies” bridge.  Being a Friday night, it was certain that a live band with a well known local reputation was playing at that bar and the locals were going to show up.  With 143 suddenly off limits west of Route 3, the traffic overloaded Route 3 and Broadway into downtown Alton, and College Avenue leading towards Alton High School.  There was an high school basketball game that night at Alton against one of their biggest conference rivals, it was senior night there, and a conference title was at stake.  The traffic jam caused the game to be delayed because their rival couldn’t navigate the traffic jam on 143 and take the back way into the the gymnasium.

What counter measures came from the incident?  Actually none came from it as it as passed off as a fluke.  It would take another fatal accident in North County two years later to force a change on 270 at 170.  The construction project reversible lane tactic has not been used since, at least in the St. Louis area.  It took another epic fail on 270 before the right turn lane from Landmarks to the southbound Clark Bridge got modified.  The only true countermeasure was the change of how the radio ads were made by Fast Eddies, as the bragging came to a stop soon after this incident.  Crowd control tactics from MoDOT and IDOT would improve over a period of time but that didn’t happen overnight.

And what about the weather:  not a cloud in the sky with temperatures around 50.  It was clearly not a factor for this epic fail.  The epic fail in question was not cleared until 2 in the morning the following day.

escalated-quickly

Warning: There may be some strong words – the admins do not censor profanity.
As the admins have warned in the past, December is the time where the big incidents tend to occur. This incident happened on a clear night with dry roads.

The admins are counting our lucky stars that the kids were out of school this week on the Christmas vacation – otherwise this incident would had caused bigger traffic chaos. This one came the morning after one of the admins had a late night at the WWE event (and slept through the whole ordeal) and another admin was only able to post right before work and during a break.

Below the admins will simply let the social media feed do the talking:


We will go to see how he handled that emergency detour routes in a minute.


This next video was not shown on the air but it was some behind the scenes. Police were forcing westbound traffic off at Route 3.



The admins did not do a lot of tweeting during the incident, but the feed was loaded.

This incident knocked out the lighting system on the bridge, and the lights are still in the dark as the admins write this post.

5 hours bro

MoDOT was blocking EB 270 mainline traffic at 367 and blocked ramps to EB 270 from Bellefontaine, Lilac, and Riverview.
If you haven’t figured out by now, about two years ago before the canal bridge implosion the admins came up with the page regarding emergency detour routes. Since 143 leading up to the Clark Bridge was likely going to be awful because of this incident (construction in downtown Alton was going on had parts of Ridge Street blocked for the past few weeks), one of the only traffic reporters that was not on vacation this week spent the entire traffic segment bragging about the southern detour routes.  (Couple that we knew that went northern routes got around Alton on 140 and Homer Adams Parkway.)  It is clear that the page was working as intended and nobody was bitching about traffic in the Riverbend on social media.

The incident was the main attention of all three major tv stations, several newspapers, and a few radio stations (had to be a otherwise slow news morning for this incident to get that much attention):

This incident shut down 270 for 5 hours, long enough to ruin an entire morning peak.  It only took one mistake to cause this chaos, and luckily came when the schools were closed for Christmas vacation, people were blowing their remaining vacation time for the year (traffic was lighter than normal all week long), and the weather was quiet.  Had this one happened a week later this chaos could easily rivaled the one that happened 6 years ago. There was an secondary incident during this chaos, a minor one that happened on EB 270 on the bridge that was quickly cleared.

WB 270 was backed up to 111 when it was all said and done. EB 270 was backed up past Lilac and that was because MoDOT was deploying crowd control at 367.


The lights are now out so please use caution, especially if the river fog risk goes to medium or high. Right now the winds are strong enough to keep that threat low but this weekend will not bring favorable weather and next week is too far out to consider the threat.

After what happened a week ago (it was at night), this incident gave the admins a very bad taste today:

The live feed images didn’t get a good look of this incident, but both westbound lanes got blocked briefly and traffic backed up all the way to 255. It caused about 30 minutes in delays but could had been worse had it happen an hour early. The construction delays on WB 70 in North County did not help the situation out:

That morning peak incident came exactly one week after this one that managed to block both westbound lanes for some time:


The delays went back to Route 3, largely cause this one happened late enough at night not to cause lengthy backups. Still, the crews were out here for an hour trying to clear this one that involved several vehicles.  This incident was the start of a very long night for the Mitchell Fire Department crews as they would get called out to a fatal home fire just a short time after clearing this one.
(Note – should had made the post about this one last week but there were other, more important priorities that cause this to be deferred.)

NOTE: some of the incidents that will be mentioned actually happened LAST WEEK but with two of the admins being out of the area for most of that week the focus was on Ride of the Century related stuff. 

First here is the video relating to the Ride of the Century that has pissed off the admins so much that it is worth posting it again:

Warning: video contains a lot of profanities.  Please watch with caution.  If you been wondering why Ride of the Century related stuff have to be posted every year, this video is a good reason why.  It is not about giving those crazies the attention: its about warning the truckers that are not familiar with this section of 270 about the stupidity that comes with this event.  One of the incidents that happened on 270 further into North County narrowly missed a tractor-trailer.

Ever since last week started, the evening peak has been anything but smooth sailing.  Last Monday one of the admins stumbled upon this incident on the way home from a work-related function:

It caused the eastbound lanes to back up to 367 and takes nearly 45 minutes to clear. It was just the beginning of a long night despite the fact one of the admins had a very early bedtime due to work:

While this incident did not impact the mainline, it caused ramp closures at Riverview and it was not until midnight before it cleared.

Two days later another eastbound peak hour incident took part near the canal bridge, and around the same time an westbound incident allegedly happened:

The traffic delays went back to 367 on the incident near the canal bridge, and it appeared that the live feed camera at Lilac was suggesting an alleged secondary incident that went unconfirmed.

If the new week was to be an improvement, it wasn’t:

The admins missed this one due to work related reasons but this one was westbound.

Today’s livechat on STLToday brought yet another question regarding the ramp from 270 to Riverview.  That ramp from Riverview to EB 270 is very dangerous and one of the admins knows that ramp very well.  Our pro tip is to come to a stop at the very top of the hill (but still on land, do not stop on the bridge) and wait for an opening and get on the mainline as quickly as possible.  Any countermeasure for this ramp is years away and probably will not occur before IDOT doing something about the river bridge.  However, developers have upped the ante in recent months, MoDOT resumed their North County study, and IDOT started their own study earlier this year.

Regarding the recent trend of crunch time starting as early as 06:30 up in North County, one of the admins have confirmed that.  The reason why it slows down at 367 is that the ramps between Old Halls Ferry and West Florissant is poorly designed and any incident at that time of the morning can back up traffic to the canal bridge.  270 up in North County is also hilly, so sight lines do have a role in the problems.  367 is also when all the Clark Bridge regulars get on 270.  There are Facebook groups out there that check traffic status on 367 and 270, so please make use of those groups.

As of 9/22, the admins are still camping social media for footage of alleged incidents that happened.

The footage posted on YouTube is not very long, but highlights a danger that the admins feared could happen for a long time.


You may want to go through the video from the 1:56 to the 2:05 mark over and over, it is that short.  The person operating that motorcycle was a very lucky person. We wished there was a better video of this incident out there.

This subsequent video showed an possible impact that it allegedly caused, and possibly hinted there was more than one incident:

This footage goes from 26:40 to the 33:00 mark. Around the 31:10 mark you will notice the riders coming to the stop, and it happens a second time around 32:45 before they get off the bridge. In between the two moments is a dangerous wheelie being performed by another rider.

UPDATE 9/26/2016 at 19:22 – This video has since been uploaded to YouTube and it confirms 2 incidents on the river bridge from the event.  The shocking part: both incidents happened within minutes of each other.  (The admins could not believe the footage even after seeing it.)

Below are images and videos of other footage found on social media.

#roc2016 #wheelietv

A post shared by Dustin Pautler (@dusty_redleg_stunts) on

#roc2016 #wheelie #streetfighterz #zx6r #illinoistomissouri #hoodrat #friends #stunt #wheelietv

A post shared by mike wymer (@mikestunts636) on

This one had a near miss on Route 3 just before 270.

#ROC2016 #killer #beastmode #spreader #wheelies #bikelyfe #streetbikes @junkyardkennystunts

A post shared by tyler moore (@hhman513) on

The next one happened just down the road in North County:

This also happened in North County but on 170:

With an early morning incident shutting down an alternate route this morning, there was little margin for error for people that normally take 270, especially with that construction zone just west of the Lilac exit.

Within minutes after the admins had to shut off phones due to work related reasons, the morning peak on 270 went down the drain.

First came an incident at Lilac:

Not even 5 minutes later, a second incident on the river bridge happened – right in front of one of our followers:

While the incident at Lilac mostly found the ditch and only blocked the one lane, it was a different story on the river bridge:

 

The incident on the river bridge allegedly caused hell for the first responders to get to the scene:

 

The combination of the two caused over 80 minutes of delays:

Neither incident is cleared before 09:00. It made the morning news but the good news is that everyone walked away.

There is a good reason why the “emergency detour routes” got published last year, it pissed off the admins seeing this: