ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Know before you go. Starting Wednesday night there will be night time lane closures on I-270 between I-44 and Manchester Road for the next four weeks.
The closures will run from 7 p.m.-5 a.m. Monday through Friday.
"Our contractor is allowed to have a single lane closure starting at 7 p.m. at night on 270. At eight o`clock, they`ll kick it out to a double and at 11 o`clock they`ll kick it out to a triple if they need," said MoDOT engineer Jesse Jonas.
The closures are part of a major two year MoDOT project to widen 270 along the busy stretch between I-44 and Manchester Road. The plan is to add a 5th lane in each direction.
The hope is that widening the interstate will help prevent traffic jams. But to make the expansion happen, all of the lanes along 270 in that area have to be permanently narrowed by a foot. The closures are needed to crews can repave the area then re-stripe it with the smaller lanes.
MoDOT says the new lanes will be the same size as the lanes on I-44 were during the Highway 40 reconstruction. MoDOT isn`t concerned about safety.
"Lots of traffic studies nationwide will say that the driver behavior from a 12 foot lane to 11 changes very, very minimally. In fact, most drivers won`t even realize that they`re in a smaller lane, that they`re in an 11 foot lane," explained Jonas.
The first lane shutdowns will be on northbound 270. Then the crews will switch and do southbound work. When the entire project is done, MoDOT says the commute will be much smoother and quicker.
Jonas told us, "It will make a huge difference and people will notice. You`ll be moving through this area a lot more than you do today."
Drivers could start seeing at least one narrower lane on 270 north as soon as tomorrow.
The lanes will have temporary markers before the more permanent striping is put down in a couple of weeks.
There will still be four lanes until crews blast out part of the rock bluffs along the interstate to widen the freeway and make enough room for a fifth lane each way and shoulders.
Read an overview of the project here: http://www.modot.org/stlouis/major_projects/I-270WideningProject.htm
Press release about start of lane closures: http://www.modot.org/stlouis/news_and_information/District6Release.shtml?action=displaySSI&newsId=166600