(KTVI)-Less than 12 hours after a major highway shutdown, two old highway bridges became piles of rubble. Giant machines pummeled the roadbeds and tore out rebar as Missouri Department of Transportation crews made short work of the Newstead Avenue and Taylor Avenue bridges. Interstate 64/ Highway 40 is shut down for the demolition this weekend. The closure is in both directions from Hampton to Forest Park Parkway.
Engineers said the two bridges were a half-century old and in desperate need of replacement. The project was scheduled for a week before, but bad weather postponed the work.
The weekend closure could make it tough for drivers trying to get downtown to events this weekend like Soulard Mardi Gras, the Monster Truck Jam, and the Lady Gaga concert.
Lady Gaga concert goers traveling east on I-64/40 found themselves delayed Saturday night as traffic was funneled into one lane to exit at Hampton or Kingshighway. They were then directed south to I-44 and east to downtown. For some drivers it sent them into a part of town they did not know.
But, Mack Bradley of Mardi Gras Inc., is optimistic about the pets and their people will be able to find alternate routes into the city.
“We think that with thousands of bags of Beggin’ Strips in Soulard, every dog in the region is going to have no trouble sniffing out a path to Soulard,” he laughed. “But in case their masters have any trouble, MoDOT has been very helpful along with us to try to help the masters find a good way to Soulard.”
MoDOT engineer Deanna Venker was just as hopeful.
“The great thing about St. Louis is we have lots of interstates heading into Downtown. Drivers should try to use I-70, I-44 or I-55, if you’re coming into the Downtown area.”
Tons of concrete chunks must be hauled away before the interstate can be re-opened at 3am Monday morning. But, drivers should know that there will be lane restrictions for awhile. When I-64/40 reopens Monday, there will be three lanes instead of four and those lanes will be narrower. The bridge work won't be done until November. MoDOT plans to tear down and rebuild more bridges in the future.
More coverage: I-64/40 Closed This Weekend For Bridge Demolition