Archive for the ‘fire’ Category


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.


As of 22:40, the civil unrest from the grand jury decision has caused these sections of 270 in Missouri to go under #codeyellow with the exception for a 5 mile section listed below: codered The section of I-270 from MM 26 (I-170) to MM 30 (Old Halls Ferry Road) is now under a Code Red advisory for HIGH RISK of an incident to occur.  The unrest tonight is much worse than what happened in August.  In addition, #CodeRed also applies for Exits 27 and 29 – the worst of the unrest is on those two streets just to the south of 270.

All the schools in North County are shut down for November 25. There is no restriction for the Illinois side of the river.  The section of 270 in Missouri that is not in that 5 mile section listed above are #CodeYellow for slight risk of an incident to occur. This situation is still evolving. KSDK is urging travelers to take caution tonight.

UPDATE 11/25/2014 at 14:45

The admins have been monitoring the situation, and due to some confirmed incidents in the city of St. Louis:

I-44 from Kingshighway to the Musial Bridge (where it becomes I-70) is under #CODERED for high risk for an incident.  There has been two confirmed protestor shutdowns on this section of highway.  Code Red remains in effect on I-270 from I-170 to Old Halls Ferry Road for High Risk

These sections of highway are also under #CODEYELLOW for SLIGHT RISK for an incident to occur:

  • I-70 from IL Route 3 exit (just east of Musial Bridge) to I-170
  • I-55 from Arsenal to I-44 Merge
  • I-170 from I-70 to I-270
  • I-270 in Missouri not indicated as #CodeRed
  • I-270 in Illinois from the river bridge to IL 3 is #CODEORANGE for construction
  • Downtown STL Bridges

In addition, the weather forecast for tomorrow is not a favorable forecast, and this week is the busiest week of traffic during the year.  If you must venture out, please allow extra time on the roads.

If that Route 3 ramp being closed is not enough, IDOT has decided to announce that June 23 through 26 there will be off-peak lane restrictions on the Clark Bridge for bridge inspections.  It will be June 23 and 24 from 09:00 to 15:00 for Southbound; June 25 and 26 for Northbound from 07:00 to 15:00.  The inspections are weather permitting.

Speaking of weather, there is Slight Risk for severe weather (at least 15% chance a thunderstorm will exhibit damaging winds or >1″ hail) for Saturday and maybe Sunday as well.  The NWS published the recent odds this morning for Saturday:

june21severe Sunday forecast is still pending at this time.  The weather forecast for last weekend was a bit of a bust as the strong stuff missed the area, but with high humidity and highs forecast into the 90s the fuel for strong storms is there.

The weather is getting hotter and that means the risk of tire blowouts do increase, especially from tractor-trailers.  Yesterday there was a series of incidents on I-55 in South County – all it started was a tire from a tractor-trailer to catch on fire.  What followed was one of the craziest traffic days down there – shutting down 55 from the 270/255 interchange all the way down towards 141 at one point – and there are just 2 alternate routes for I-55 in that area (Lemay Ferry Road and Route 141).  This crazy chain of events could happen anywhere on a given summer day – and the last time such traffic chaos truly happened here was 10 years ago this August – between the Riverview and Lilac exits that shut down 270 for over 12 hours, forced traffic through Alton even though it did not happen on the river bridge, and made headlines in the Alton Telegraph.  The differences between the two incidents was there was no Facebook or Twitter back in 2004. (The December 2010 incident on the river bridge, on the other hand, happened on a morning that the temperatures were in the teens and was triggered by a different circumstance.)

What could you do to get around it? You had to go through Alton or back through downtown. The incidents don’t need to happen on the river or canal bridge to cause big problems – the incident in August 2004 proved it.


Yesterday afternoon, the eastbound lane closures picked up almost an entire hour later than anticipated and it was all it took to set the tone for the evening peak.  While the eastbound traffic was trying to get back to normal, a truck broke down just west of the canal bridge westbound that blocked the shoulder and one of the two mainline lanes.

This fire temporarily led to the closure of both mainline lanes as crews put out the fire, and one lane would remain closed well into the evening hours.  It also made the evening news of one television station, which also tweeted pictures of the truck fire.


Here is another picture that was shot by a motorist and shared on Facebook yesterday. The cab of the truck was fully involved.

Traffic would back up all the way to 255 at the peak and the scene is not cleared before 20:00-21:00 time frame.