Emergency Detour Routes

In the case where an epic fail happens on this section of 270, these poorly drawn Google maps have been made with possible alternate routes.  These routes had to be used in the past during peak hours, most recently in 1992, 1994, 2004, 2010, and 2013.  There been other times people have been forced to use these routes, way too many times to count, and encountering long delays are inevitable should it have to be done at peak periods.

Southern Detour Routes – Going through Granite City/St. Louis


The southern route has the best interstate option – 255 back to 70 – but goes through some rough areas.  It also has several surface street options and a second alternate via the McKinley Bridge for the locals.  Through traffic should remain on the interstate if at all possible – it is also possible to take 255 to 64 and cross on 64 then return to 270 or 70 instead of the 255 to 70 method.  This section of 270 has not witnessed an epic fail since the Stan Musial Bridge opened although it will be a matter of time when that happens. (Update it has happened in December 2016.)  Should this epic fail happen during the morning peak period, do not be surprised to see 55/70 back up all the way to Troy.  Taking 255 all the way around south and back to 270 in South County towards 55 or 44 is another option, especially during the morning peak.

The other highlighted detour routes are best left for the locals.  In the event of an epic fail during the morning peak, all possible routes to the McKinley Bridge will be clogged up.  Locals in Granite City better know the back routes to their local destinations.  Please note that Pontoon Road is not approved for tractor-trailer use except for the purpose of a local delivery.

The last major evening peak epic fail was way back in 1992 on a certain Monday afternoon.  It is not a surprise to see traffic on 270 back up towards the 370 area – and see traffic on 70 and 64 back up heading into downtown.  Epic fails have happened eastbound since then (i.e. May 2013 canal bridge inspections), but none have happened during the wrong time of the day.



The route through Alton has very few options.  There are two ways you can get through Alton, but only one way to cross unless you really want to take the scenic route.  It is very critical for the locals of the Riverbend to know how to access the Clark Bridge making a right turn and the use of side streets to get around – and if all else fails know how to cut through the Calhoun County Ferry System and the corresponding back roads.

If you are not familiar with the Alton area and don’t want to take the southern detour, the simple trick is go NORTH on 255 and take the 143 exit.  When you take the 143 exit (2 lane exit ramp), you will make a left turn towards the Shop and Save that is just west of 255.  143 will eventually become Madison Ave past the Shop and Save, and the Berm Highway once you get past Route 3.  143 is 2 lanes in each direction but the kicker is that there is just a single lane left turn lane to the Clark Bridge – and it only fits 5 to 6 vehicles at a time.  During the morning peak that left turn lane has been known to back up without shit happening on 270.  If it happens during the morning peak, expect 143 to back up into Wood River.

If 143 backs up, another option is go north on Route 3 and take it into Alton, then take Broadway.  If you do go this way, DO NOT MAKE THE LEFT TURN TO THE CLARK BRIDGE BY FAST EDDIES.  Take Broadway until the intersection with Henry Street and make that left turn there.  You can also continue on Broadway until that 4 way with Route 67/100 and make a left turn there.  Very next light on Henry Street is Landmarks Blvd – make a left turn and get in that right lane.  The Clark Bridge is now accessed with a right turn – and after an incident back in 2010, that approach was altered where you can do a right turn at all times.

If you are on 143, make a LEFT turn at Discovery Parkway and take it under the Clark Bridge where it eventually becomes Ridge Street.  After you cross railroad tracks, you can make a right on Landmarks and then another right on the Clark Bridge. (Note there has been construction going on during the early part of 2017 in that area and Ridge Street may not be available across the railroad tracks.)

Should you have time on your hands and really want to use the scenic route through Calhoun County (not recommended for truckers), better have some printed out maps in advance since cell phone signals are very poor down there (certain providers have ZERO service).  The trick is taking Route 100 to Brussels Ferry, then using Calhoun County Highway 1(Illinois River Road) to the Golden Eagle Ferry Road.  The route to the Golden Eagle Ferry is well marked – but this part of Calhoun County is very hilly and has a lot of curves.  This route is heavily dependent on weather and river conditions.  The Golden Eagle Ferry is a toll ferry, and you will then land on an access road Route B. Make a right on Route B, then  a left on Route C.  You will then enter St. Peters where you can return to I-70.  This scenic route may be congested during Bald Eagle season that runs from December through March, so only take it if you got time on your hands.

For truckers another possible route is using US 67 to I-72, then I-72 to US 61.  This route is a very lengthy detour and should only be attempted if you are coming out of Central Illinois or Northeast Missouri.

What if you must use the detours during the morning peak?

Best bet is leave early and know the detour you plan on using in advance.  The 07:00 hour is usually the most traveled hour of the day.  Allow a lot of extra time cause you are more likely going to end up late for work.

If all else fails and if you got vacation time remaining OR have the ability to work from home, there is a plan B to consider

I-270 detours between Route 3 and Troy

While this page was meant to highlight emergency routes in the event of shit happening on or near the bridges, in recent weeks IDOT has gotten bolder and have gone out of the way to cause 12 mile mainline closure on 270 for weekend work.   While IDOT will run their mouth on using I-70 through St. Louis and the Clark Bridge (which they are also on the hook for) and Route 143 through the Riverbend, they often forget that as of August 2017 there is lane restrictions on 143 through Wood River and that section of I-70 through North County leading up to the Stan Musial Bridge is a bad part of town.


The main and preferred alternate route is New Poag Road.  It bypasses most of the Riverbend area, 55 MPH speed limit until you enter the Edwardsville city limits, tractor-trailer friendly, allows trucks to get on 111 or 255 to then enter the Pontoon Beach distribution centers, and eventually goes straight into Route 143 in downtown Edwardsville.  From there, it is a matter of time before you get on I-55.

Instead of cutting through downtown Edwardsville, you can subsequently use University Drive south from New Poag Road, then use Governors Parkway that will take you to Route 143 just west of I-55.  Please note while on the SIUE grounds, that speed limit is strictly enforced by the university police and they won’t give you 5 miles over the posted limit.

There are two obvious cons of this alternate route:  first of all, most of the route is a 2 lane road.  The second one is between 111 and 255 there is an at grade railroad crossing that has about 20 train crossings a day.

The second alternate route is Chain of Rocks Road, which is near 270.  It does allow some access to the distribution centers and it is also legal for tractor-trailer use.  However, the biggest drawback is that you must cross the railroad tracks at Maryville Road just before the intersection with Route 203, and that crossing has at least 50 trains per day.  At the east end of that road is Route 157, which you can go south to hit Route 162 or continue on 157 to access Governors Parkway.  Most of this route is 2 lane roads, and some of this predated 270.

The third alternate route is Pontoon Road.  The biggest con to this route is that tractor-trailers are prohibited from using this road unless they are doing a local delivery along that street.  However, there is a bridge across the railroad tracks near Route 203, and the road goes to Route 111.  From there it is a short distance south on Route 111 to access Route 162, which will go into Troy.  Most of this route is 2 lane roads.


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