IDOT to Start Work in October to Widen Lanes and Install Barrier on MLK Bridge

By October 1, 2009Auto Accidents

As a southern Illinois auto accident lawyer and a commuter who maintains officers in St. Louis and southern Illinois, I was pleased to see that the Illinois Department of Transportation has set dates for its work on the Martin Luther King bridge. According to the Belleville News-Democrat, the department plans to close the bridge, which connects St. Louis with East St. Louis, for 12 days starting Oct. 12. The work will add a concrete center barrier and widen the lanes on the bridge by turning four 10-foot-wide lanes into three lanes of 12 feet — safety measures IDOT and other observers hope will decrease the high number of accidents on the bridge.
In fact, the News-Democrat said, the project was explicitly intended to address the bridge’s unusually high number of fatal accidents. According to an older story, 14 people had died on the MLK bridge between 1998 and summer of this year, almost all in head-on collisions. As I have written here before, this gives motorists a 25 times greater risk of death if they choose the MLK bridge. Safety experts told the newspaper that the bridge’s safety problems include its narrow width, which can pressure drivers traveling alongside a semi truck and leaves no safe place for people to stop if they have car trouble. Other safety problems include the lack of a center barrier to prevent crossover accidents and its connection to a major highway, which encourages speed. Authorities have already reduced the speed limit on the bridge and may install cameras to automatically ticket speeders.
The work is expected to slow commutes for people who routinely cross the river, and that is understandably generating a lot of complaints. But as a St. Louis car crash attorney, I believe the inconvenience will ultimately be worthwhile if it stops the unusually high number of deaths and serious accidents on the bridge. The design of the MLK bridge may have made sense when it was built, when vehicles were smaller, semi trucks weren’t widely used and there was less traffic overall. But these days, when ordinary people drive SUVs and must share the highway with 18-wheelers, 10-foot lanes are simply not safe. It’s not surprising that drivers with literally no room to swerve or stop are involved in an unusually high number of serious accidents — with that little wiggle room, it takes just one driver to cause a catastrophe.


Carey, Danis & Lowe represents people who were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a crash caused by someone else’s carelessness. In the vast majority of auto accidents, that means drivers’ bad decisions — but accidents can be and are caused by unsafe roadways. When that’s the case, the cause is still a bad decision, but the bad decision came from the government agency responsible for designing and maintaining the road. Our Missouri car wreck lawyers help victims of serious accidents untangle the causes behind their crashes, meet the complex requirements of suing a government agency and claim the full amount of compensation to which they are legally entitled. That includes compensation for victims’ physical injuries, pain and emotional trauma as well as payment of all past and future costs related to the crash, including lost income.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a crash you believe was caused by defective roads or poor maintenance of roads, don’t hesitate to contact the Lowe Law Firm for a free consultation on your case. To learn more, you can reach us at 1-877-678-3400 or contact us online.