Posts Tagged ‘MoDOT’

Poor timing snow event for 1/5

Posted: 2017/01/04 in IDOT, MoDOT, Weather
Tags: , ,

oneinchofsnow


The NWS has predicted up to 4 inches of the white stuff for Thursday – and projected the stuff to fall in time for the morning peak:

Earlier this evening, MoDOT goes out and their #2 man in the district declares in a press conference to the local media there will be no pretreating of the roads prior to the event.

Instead they have urged the people to stay off the roads and likewise the Illinois State Police has issued a travel advisory for the I-64 and I-70 corridors:

With the lights on the river bridge out and the poor timing of the event, the admins decided to upgrade the risk factor to HIGH. The hilly 270 mainline up in North County is likely going to be terrible, and in the last winter event that hill east of 157 proved its ugly head like no other. Since the admins have honestly lost count of how many incidents that happened on that hilly mainline in recent years (it seems like it happens every season), anyone that has to go out in this stuff due to essential reasons needs to allow extra time and be prepared to be stuck. Temperatures in this event is expected to be in the teens and low 20s, which can make rock salt rather ineffective.

Just for good measure, the past snow events at poor times have yielded big problems so please lets not make a repeat of this mess:

OR this mess the last time MoDOT didn’t pretreat the roads, or for good measure the epic twitter feed:

Whatever happens tomorrow please allow a lot of extra time or just stay home. The evening peak will likely be just as dicey depending on when the snow exits.

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From 16:00 to 19:00 on Thursday, December 15, MoDOT will conduct a public meeting at McCluer High School at 1896 S. New Florissant Road.  Attendees will have an opportunity to tell it “as it is” for 2 minutes OR provide a written comment.  For citizens unable to attend there will be a time window where comments may be provided online with a deadline of January 6, 2017.  A preferred alternative has been determined.

This is the last chance of making MoDOT hear the heat so make it count.  The admins are obviously unhappy at the recent release of the draft maps so far as it appears little improvements will be done at Lilac and Riverview interchanges and no mainline lanes added (seems like an exit only lane from Lilac to Riverview).  In addition it seems like it will not happen before IDOT gets around in finishing their own study.

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The orange cones are coming back next weekend.  Be prepared.

As hinted on the construction VMS on 255 at 270 and on 270 at New Halls Ferry and at 255, there will be weekend work on the river bridge, weather permitting, on the weekend of July 16 and 17.  Only one lane in each direction will be open to traffic, opening the possibilities of delays stretching back to 255 for westbound traffic and 367 for eastbound traffic.  Do not be surprised to hear about delays going over one hour.

This work is required to seal the bridge decks.

Lane restrictions will begin late in the night of July 15 around midnight, and will not be lifted until 21:00 on July 17.

Please consider taking alternate routes, and keep in mind that MoDOT is doing work on the Poplar Street Bridge and there is lane closures on Route 143 between Route 3 and the Clark Bridge.

This afternoon, this was posted on MoDOT page.  Since just about everyone has been waiting a very long time to tell IDOT as it is (MoDOT heard plenty during those I-270 North County public hearings), the information is posted below:i-270flyerfinal_000
Additional information can be found here.

 Note: unfavorable weather conditions for Monday and Tuesday has pushed the lane closures back til later this week.  Stay tuned.

If that project in North County last summer was bad enough, MoDOT is about to start a four month long construction project on 270 at Bellefontaine Road that is expected to screw both the morning and evening peaks for people that must use 270 to get between North County and Granite City.  With one mainline lane in each direction expected to be closed on a 24/7 basis, there is a lot of nerves going around.

This evening, for the second time in less than 3 weeks, a serious accident happened on eastbound 270 between Old Halls Ferry and 367 during the peak period that closed the highway for some time.  The incident this afternoon sadly proved fatal for one person and caused major traffic hell in North County.  In fact the westbound lanes were blocked as well for a short time during this incident.  A second incident on a route that people were using to get to Parker Road did not help matters either.

This incident lasted through the entire evening peak period.  Although a fatality often requires all lanes to be closed for a few hours for reconstruction – the fact it was the peak period in the peak direction, and the fact the only other east-west alternate routes in North County are Parker Road and Chambers Road – crews ended up reopening the right lane and allowed the traffic to sneak through the scene after an hour.  It takes over 3 hours to clear this incident.

With a recent rash of serious incidents near 367, the concern is there.  Most of the North County traffic on 270 enters and exit at 367 and the majority of that traffic is from the RiverBend.  The AADT (based in 2013) has traffic counts on 270 at 106K just west of 367 but 54K at Lilac.  While it is too soon to determine whether this lane closure will back up the peak traffic past 367 during the evening peak and east of Lilac during the morning peak, the risk of big problems developing is high.

First the good news is that the southbound lanes of 67 south of the Clark Bridge reopened on Tuesday.  It couldn’t have come soon enough as the morning peak period this morning had this:

It happened during the busiest hour of the day, and the admins missed that one due to work. (Been pulling a lot of hours of work this week and next week, so a lot of non essential stuff will be delayed.)  It was the second alleged incident this week during the morning peak, as there was one on Monday as well.

Now the bad news that was spoiled last month.  MoDOT is slated to start the major North County project on 270 on July 15, and this project will affect anyone that cuts through North County, either by the Clark Bridge or using this section of 270.  This project was due to begin this week but poor weather conditions have caused the construction to be pushed back.  This project will involve 24/7 lane closures for a month and could cause morning peak traffic to back up towards Lilac and Riverview.

Last but not least, IDOT have some overnight lane closures planned for next week on eastbound 270 east of Route 3.  The lane restrictions will go from 18:00 to 06:00 from July 15 through 21.  Also starting next week, one lane of the ramp from northbound 255 to westbound 270 will close for 6 weeks for a painting project.

Check the Facebook page later tonight for a #ThrowbackThursday segment that will be shared that was taken last year.  A friend of one of the admins posted this video this week dating back to 2013. Forward it to the 12 minute mark of the video.

Tonight from 21:00 to 05:00 tomorrow, there will be one lane closed in both directions on 270 from the river bridge to Route 3 so crews from Walsh Construction can install rumble strips along the shoulders.

Later this summer, eastbound drivers will be in for some major changes up in North County, so it is time to give some spoilers that have already been leaked to North County officials.  These changes will affect drivers that use either the Clark Bridge or this section of 270 to do their commute, so the people from the River Bend region that cuts through North County west of 367 needs to read this section below:

The first one will involved narrowed lanes and mainline being reduced to 2 lanes.

The second one is much more drastic – the eastbound mainline will be shut down at New Halls Ferry and traffic routed along the exit ramp and outer road system before traffic reenters past Old Halls Ferry.

The bottom line is that the evening peak will be hell once the work starts, as over 120K vehicles use that section of 270 from 170 to 367.  Start planning those alternate routes involving Parker Road and Lindbergh, especially if you opt for the Clark Bridge.

This weekend is the annual Eagle Days event at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge that is put on by various agencies on both sides of the river.  This time of the year is when Bald Eagles tend to hang out in this area, usually out feeding on the fish first thing in the morning and late in the afternoon.  With weather expected to be very favorable (highs on Saturday expected to be in the 50s), there is a possibility that a large crowd will attend the event this weekend. Take the Riverview or the Route 3 exits and follow the signs to the parking.

If you are heading over here to view the bald eagles this winter, please do it from the old bridge.  The last thing anyone wants to see is a epic fail thanks to a driver that got distracted at those birds.

The second reason why heavier than normal traffic is expected this weekend comes courtesy of MoDOT:

With this, the only approaches to the Poplar Street Bridge that will be available will be the I-64 approaches.  With this in mind, there will be a lot more truck traffic making the jaunt on 270 and this is not the weekend to have incidents.

UPDATE 16:36 2/8/15 – going back and embedding such tweets if possible.  Most posts prior to 2013 do not have embedded tweets and there are no plans in going back to rework posts unless deemed necessary.

Authors note:  Because I had to work day shifts and could not be near the computer to monitor it (did get to take sneak peeks with my cell phone during breaks but that was it),  I had to monitor twitter and facebook feeds.  A special thank you to all that made various comments through the twitter feeds go to @Y98Lance and the facebook feeds from viewers of Fox2Now.  If I missed anyone else I apologize, its been a long day.

As expected the snow and wind come right before the morning peak period.  What nobody expected was MoDOT getting a late start on snow removal.  Add in a flash freeze that came soon after the first flakes fell, and the rolling hills on the Missouri side of the river, along with the time of the day and all of a sudden you had the standstill traffic.  Before long, there is wrecks on westbound 270 at Bellefontaine and again at Route 367 according to @StLouisTraffic, and next thing that happens is that traffic is at a standstill back across the river and canal bridges and went back all the way to Route 157.  Before I walked in work at 07:30, I made a check on the live cams with my cell phone and found the bridge to be a big parking lot.  Two hours later I finally get to go on break and check the cell phone again: the bridge was still a parking lot and the editor of the Alton Telegraph just made a tweet about how bad 270 was.

I simply sent him a tweet just do yourself a favor and advise the locals to stay off the bridge.  That tweet was retweeted.  I could not keep tabs again until it was lunch break.  By then, the parking lot was gone and things had settled down.  The locals, though, started taking their anger out at MoDOT via twitter (Warning: adult language in the feed).  The news media turned up the heat on both facebook and through twitter.  Below is some of the best tweets that happened today:

The rest of this individual twitter feed from that time period is loaded with tweets complaining about MoDOT.
The news media soon came out with various articles, including one by the Post-Dispatch, and the TV stations turned to facebook to listen to the viewers.  KPLR/KTVI came out with this video for their evening newscast.