Posts Tagged ‘Route 3’


IDOT has confirmed via a press release to what the construction VMS boards were advertising yesterday: a full WB 270 closure from Route 3 to the I-55 interchange in Troy. Crews from Micro-Surfacing Contractors LLC will be out to do the westbound half of 270, which is known to be in even worse shape than eastbound, and the consequences of missing the 05:00 Monday deadline is even worse than eastbound.  (HINT:  crews barely got EB 270 open in time)  The westbound closures are expected to have a much more disruptive effect than eastbound for various reasons, some which are obvious and some of it because of other road work on alternative routes that can come back and haunt IDOT in the event of an epic fail eastbound.

While access to the bridges do remain, it must be done via the back road system:

270MadCoAlts

The best alternate route is New Poag Road, and detours will be marked along 255 and New Poag Road.  The better detour is using a combination of Route 3, New Poag Road, 255, and Route 162, as IDOT has been bold enough to start construction projects on 55/70 and that includes a closure of 55/70 EB from 64 to 255 this weekend as well.  (There is closures on Route 143 just east of Route 3 that IDOT boldly planned a 270 EB detour route but made an about face the morning of the 11th.)

IMG_2786

Keep in mind this closure takes place right before the solar eclipse on August 21, and while the admins have not made a lot of mention about it because this area is largely on the fringes of that viewing area, it is certain that heavier than normal traffic may occur between 09:00 to 16:00.  A separate post regarding the eclipse will be made on Sunday, however, as the admins see the weekend closures as a larger priority.

Before the information with the closures gets posted, the morning peak this morning was marred with two incidents near the river bridge but within a mile of each other:

Only the one closest to Riverview happened within view of the cameras. This incident did not cause the problems until the crews were in the process of clearing it because there was a second incident about a mile to the east of that one.

Both incidents caused about 20-30 minutes in delays, but both happened in the month of August where the big ones are known to occur.

eb270closure

Now, the next subject is something that the admins posted photos on Saturday of the dates the EB 270 closure. It has now been confirmed by a IDOT press release, and while the bridges will remain open your access has been limited to a combination of New Poag Road and Route 3 OR Pontoon Road and Route 3.  IDOT plans to close EB 270 from Route 3 all the way to Troy next weekend weather permitting, presumably to replace that awful pavement that dates back to the late 1990s (WB 270 pavement is even worse than EB).  The problem is that with an event at Tri City Speedway on Friday evening, there could be hassle in getting to the bridge.  Chain of Rocks Road is an alternate if you are willing to use Maryville Road to cross the railroad tracks, but for the tractor-trailer drivers that utilize the Pontoon Beach distribution centers must use New Poag Road as an alternate as Pontoon Road is off limits to tractor-trailers except the ones that are making local deliveries along that street.

For the detours east of 255, it is mostly 162 and Governors Parkway.  This area, along with North County, is not known to have useful detour routes in the east-west direction.  New Poag Road ultimately goes into 157 and 143 into downtown Edwardsville.  If you are coming out of the Riverbend, it may be wiser to use the Clark Bridge and call it a day.

Today the NWS gave us bad news and confirmed that the Mississippi River at Alton will go past the 29 foot threshold as early as Monday.  The bad news when the river hits that point is that the southbound lanes of 367 just south of the Clark Bridge start to flood and that usually renders the southbound direction of the Clark Bridge off limits.alton-apr30at1700

The projected crest is on Wednesday at or around the 33 foot mark.

Based on an recent MoDOT press conference held this evening, the NB lanes of 367 will be converted into two-way traffic and that will help with the heavier than normal traffic on this section of 270. However, this also means that there will be delays in both the AM and PM peak starting Monday afternoon and lasting likely through the end of the week. Either way, traffic on 270 will be heavier than normal for a few days, the canal bridge area is a known choke point, and plan on delays on both the Clark Bridge and the Chain of Rocks.

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.

Residents of North County and the Riverbend came out to pay their final respects and some of the admins on this site did the same.  (One of the admins was unable to take part due to employment reasons.(







The procession was over 20 miles long and took over an hour to complete. Since the procession affected the Clark Bridge drive, the admins had no choice but to monitor the event.

The prayers are with the family.

The admins have been monitoring the death of the St. Louis County police officer that happened last week due to the fact the officer had ties to the Riverbend.

Anyone that uses the Clark Bridge or the section from 270 from 367 to 40 needs be aware that anytime between 11:00 to 14:00 on Thursday – there will be a rolling NB/EB FULL mainline closure that will only occur when the funeral procession makes its way from the Family Church in Chesterfield to the cemetery off Route 3 in Godfrey.


This image above is the tentative procession route from the church to the cemetery.

Once the procession crosses the Clark Bridge, there will be additional traffic restrictions in the Riverbend, however, the public will be allowed to line the route to pay their final respects.

With this option given, please refrain from using the overpasses along 270 between 40 and 367 – there is only one pedestrian only overpass along the entire section, and the remaining overpasses have very heavy traffic on a normal basis. However, it is possible to line Pershall at various locations along 270 between Lindbergh and 367 – please note that it it completely continuous road – notably the section between New Florissant and Washington/Elizabeth. (The section between Washington/Elizabeth to West Florissant is the preferred area to line up if using Pershall Road – plenty of public parking at various locations.)

Once the procession from the church begins, it will take approximately 30 minutes from the procession to get on 270 from 40 to the time it gets off 270 at 367, and another 15 minutes to cross the Clark Bridge.  (Please note the times are approximate and will depend on the size of the procession.)  While the procession will only directly affect NB/EB 270 traffic, anyone going WB across the river bridge needs to be prepared to encounter minor delays once west of 367 when the procession is in progress.

Rolling road closures are better explained on this site.  If you want to see footage of a similar rolling closure, there is something from August in the Granite City area.

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 (@d_pautler) 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

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js
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).

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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.

 

Weather permitting, there will be mainline lane closures on 270 between Route 3 and Troy that will begin tonight and last through October. The lane restrictions are limited from 18:00 to 06:00 from Sunday through Thursday.  There is additional restrictions that stretch east of the interchange with I-55/70, so everyone that comes out of Highland and Greenville needs to be aware of that.

In short, the I-270 mainline lane restrictions go from MM 3 to MM 18 (please note that I-70 mile markers east of I-55/70 interchange corresponds with I-270, not I-70).

Next weekend, southbound Route 3 at 270 will be off-limits as crews will be making repairs to the bridge that carries 270 over Route 3.  Starting on Monday, there will be daily lane restrictions on Route 3 at 270 until August 12, weather permitting.  While there will be no lane closures on the mainline lanes of 270, crews will be in the area and caution needs to be advised.