St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis Illinois Major Corridor Construction Plans

By January 31, 2007Highway Safety

Highway 40, also known as Interstate 64, which is one of the busiest thoroughfares in the st. Louis metro east region which provides access to St. Louis for many people who live in Illinois and work in St. Louis each day, as well as provides major access to west St. Louis County, is going to have a 10.5 mile stretch re-built from east of Kingshighway in St. Louis to west of Spoede Road in Frontenac, Missouri. On that stretch, all bridges and 12 interchanges along the route are going to be re-built, and there is going to be a lane added in each direction between Interstate I-64 and Spoede Road.
I know from experience that whenever there is a highway construction project, especially one of this magnitude which is reported to be the largest highway construction project in state history, because changes in what drivers are used to on the highway, unexpected traffic slow downs, there are going to be more accidents on this stretch of highway. In fact a highway engineer can probably predict fairly accurately the number of additional accidents and deaths that this project will cause. In addition, because of the magnitude of the project, I know there will be much more traffic through areas on the roads that run parallel to the highway, which will also result not only in more congestion, but more accidents.
Once the construction project starts, I am inviting drivers to post comments on where they see dangers, alternative routes they have found that work (if they wish to share them), or anything else which are important to drivers during the trying three years of this construction project. Anyone who drives Highway 40 knows how bad it can be. Right now, even at certain times of the year due to sunshine slowdowns, there will be traffic backups as well as accidents.
The rebuilding project starts in the spring of 2008 with the re-building of the 1-170 interchange with Highway 40/64 in Richmond Heights. During this time, there will be no significant lane closings. The construction on the I-170 interchange will start in spring 2007 and there will be some late night and weekend lane closings as crews re-build the interchange. In 2008 and 2009 there are going to be lane closures in both directions.
Anyone who drives this from Chesterfield to downtown will know that this will make this crucial east/west corridor almost impossible to travel. In 2009, the western half of the Highway 40/64 corridor will re-open and the eastern half will close.
In order to help drivers cope with this nightmare, message boards on the I-270 loop will provide travel times and the Missouri Department of Transportation will have a 511 number that will give callers traffic updates and travel times. In addition, before sections of Highway 40 (I-64) close, there will be additional lanes created on Interstate 44 between Interstate 270 and downtown and on Interstate 70 between I-270 and I-170.
Before 2008, the County Highway Department will be improving traffic signals and major connectors such as Clayton Road and Forrest Park Parkway to handle the added traffic. In addition, they will be upgrading traffic signals along Page Avenue, Olive Blvd., Manchester Road, and Lindbergh to help traffic flow according to the Missouri Department of Transportation. Also, all hospitals that use the Highway 40/64 corridor will meet with MoDot officials to find out what primary roads their emergency vehicles should use during the closure.