Archive for the ‘safety’ Category

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.

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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.

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.

 

Normally posts regarding freezing fog doesn’t get posted to the site.  It is usually posted on the Facebook page when it is appropriate. The same is true for smaller winter systems.  (The big stuff and any freezing rain threat always get a post.)

Starting with the 2016-2017 Winter season, odds of encountering river fog will be posted on Facebook on Sundays whenever possible.  The reason why river fog becomes a concern this time of the year is pretty obvious -the morning peak has the risk of becoming the horror movie itself when the correct conditions exist.  This usually occurs in December, a month notorious for major incidents and almost every one of them hit first thing in the morning.  In fact almost every December brings some form of an incident when fog and/or drizzle starts to freeze.

The river fog probability risk for 12/5 through 12/10

  • 12/5 – High
  • 12/6 – Medium
  • 12/7 – Low
  • 12/8 – Low
  • 12/9 – High
  • 12/10 – Medium
  • 12/11 – Medium

While temperatures are expected to flirt with the freezing point tomorrow, the biggest concern is late in the week – as low temperatures are expected to bottom out in the teens.  It is still too soon to really address the serious threat for late in the week as the wind forecasts are not out yet but with the recent mild weather the Arctic cold snap will trigger some fog.

It is also to note that 12/8 is a well known date of notoriety and the last time temperatures bottomed out into the teens on that date brought some of the biggest chaos in the Riverbend since 1994.

When it comes to more significant systems this season do not be surprised to see nothing until 8 to 12 hours before the event.  The admins have seen forecasts made with model runs from 4-6 hours out bust, so unless we are certain that a winter system is a threat there will be no posts.

Yesterday the admins posted on Facebook about the biggest concern with the latest system was first thing Sunday morning.  Guess what:

Takes an hour to clear and thankfully it happened Sunday morning. Had this happened 24 hours later an incident similar to this will likely explode on the social media feeds that we follow.

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:

#familytime

A photo posted by Guru Khalsa (@gurustunts) on Aug 23, 2016 at 12:53pm PDT

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It was announced last month that the date of the infamous tradition called Ride of the Century has been set at 9/17 during the afternoon hours.  While some of the details of the ride is kept secret it has been known that this event has utilized this section of 270 between 170 and Route 3 in recent years. This is an annual ride that has gone on for the past sixteen years and is always held in the month of September.  The most likely timeframe of the ride itself is between 13:00 to 17:00.  If you use this section of 270 on Saturday, please make wise decisions and be prepared to encounter delays.

The weather for the event on Saturday is not expected to be favorable, as there is a chance of scattered storms in the picture. The reason why we are adding the weather forecast is simple: there has been past rides that the weather forced them to change their route or push back the start, and the 2013 ride was affected by the weather (severe storms in North County pushed the riders to stay in South County and away from this section of 270).

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The intent of the post is meant to warn the truckers and the normal people that would not suspect a large group of motorcyclists on a normal basis.  The group that takes part in the Ride of the Century is not your run of the mill motorcycle club event, and they are not escort riders that take part in the Patriot Guard.  (Similar to what you saw on 162 and Maryville Road in Granite City last month.) The group that does this event are professional stunt bike riders and they almost always film their rides for the purpose of making viral videos. This ride has drawn at least 1000 bikers every year for the past several years and has drawn media coverage in the past.

Below are videos of what happened last year that we didn’t post after the ride. Please note that all these acts on public highways are considered illegal and should never be attempted.


The ride last year caused at least two incidents on 270 up in North County and previous rides have not gone incident free.

We are aware that PokemonGO is a popular game but the admins are concerned that it can lead to distracted driving.  This section of 270 was dangerous enough before the game came out.  The admins have been playing the game more so to figure out where the PokeGyms and PokeStops are at along 270.

If the game brings you up here, please make use of the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge just to the south of 270.  There is at least 3 PokeGyms and several PokeStops on that bridge itself to keep you occupied.  The Pokemon tend to spawn over land.  There is another PokeStop at the Welcome Center on Dunn Road at Riverview.

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Catch them on the old bridge.

We are also aware that there is another PokeGym at the very inappropriate location of the 270/111 interchange at the northwest corner, along with the intersection of Route 3 at New Poag Road.  Both of those locations have nearby parking lots – make use of them.  There is some PokeStops right along Route 3 between Hartford and Granite City where you are only in range while on Route 3 as well – remember that a lot of people use Route 3 to get to 270.

There is no reason to play this game while on 270.  Give the phone to your kid or your carpool partner to play.  In fact these PSA have been steadily coming out this week:

 

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Last night, the news of the proposed Lighthouse development just north of the river bridge on the Missouri side broke.  The admins are split over the project, given that one of the admins has his employer just to the south of that site.

wb270-mm35-proposed site

Should the project go through and get approved there are a few possible impacts that could happen.

  1. Increased traffic at the Riverview exit.  The ramp from Riverview to EB 270 is a nasty one, its very tight with limited sight lines.  While MoDOT does have long term plans regarding this exit, there is no funding at this time and a fix could take years.
  2. More distraction for westbound drivers.  You cannot miss the site when you drive west on 270 right now.  This section of 270 is bad enough right now during the morning peak.
  3. Increased number of incidents.  It will just be a matter of time before someone has an epic fail on this section of 270.  The most likely place of the increased incidents will be the Riverview exit itself, as the east end of the interchange is tight.

It is still too soon to figure in the full impacts.  The project is expected to begin this summer should the developers get the green light from the City of St. Louis.

Deer season is here

Posted: 2015/11/02 in safety

This is the time of the year that the admins see the Game of Thrones memes relating to Winter popping up on social media, it is now in the midst of deer season.  This morning there was an incident on the Clark Bridge drive – apparently involving a deer.  In fact, hunters will be out in force next weekend for shotgun season in Illinois.

With the time change, the peak periods now coincide with the peak hours of deer activity, especially during the evening hours.  With November starting, in just a few weeks another potential distraction will be showing up:

Although October was a very slow month (and one of the admins being sidelined with a broken foot did not help), the winter months are typically the time the highest number of incidents happen.  El Nino winters tend to be “all or nothing” when it comes to snow in this region, so there will not be a prediction this season.

From November 3-12 there will be very spotty updates if they come – one of the admins will be out of the area and likely not able to use a computer.