ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI) – Update: Five thousand more commuters used Route 364 to avoid traffic backups as a result of the new lane shift across the Blanchette Bridge. MoDOT says use of the Page extension has increased in recent months.
Many drivers heeded the advice of MoDOT and used alternate routes to lessen congestion in the reduced lanes of the Blanchette Bridge. MoDOT reports about 1,000 more drivers used Route 370.
MoDOT is encouraging drivers to continue to use alternate routes as the Blanchette is not expected to reopen until Fall 2013.
It’s the first big test for the new traffic set up on the Blanchette Bridge. The westbound lanes of the bridge shut down over the weekend for a year for repairs, so eastbound lanes are now carrying traffic in both directions.
MoDOT says they had no problems overnight Sunday. Traffic was moving smoothly early Monday morning, but the rain could pose problems as the commute grows.
There are three lanes going in each direction on the Blanchette and traffic is separated by concrete barriers. Normally, there are five lanes on each side of the bridge, so the total number of lanes have been reduced from 10 to 6. Drivers will also notice the lanes are more narrow.
One hundred and sixty thousand cars use the Blanchette Bridge everyday. MoDOT officials are worried about the potential for big time back ups. They are urging drivers to use the alternate routes of 370 and the Page extension.