ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI) – A sigh of relief for many drivers as MoDOT prepares to reopen the Blanchette Bridge in less than two weeks.
In the meantime, it could get worse before it gets better. From Tuesday until Thursday this week, several lanes and ramps will be closed from 8 at night until 6 in the morning. The closures are allowing crews to re-stripe and remove the barrier on the eastbound span, preparing it once again for one-way traffic. MoDOT plans to re-open the westbound span on Friday.
In the meantime, the project has impacted drivers’ habits, many of whom now avoid the construction zone. Maryland Heights resident Karen Nickel has been taking detours to St. Charles as often as possible. On Wednesday night, she and her husband found themselves at the Three Flags Business Center, right across the Blanchette Bridge, but not by choice. “We had to come over and get some stuff out of my son’s car that is broken down,” she explains.
The Nickels aren’t the only ones who have been avoiding the area. Nearby businesses, particularly those at this St. Charles shopping center, are paying the price.
Eddie Phan with Le’s Nails says, “The people that work in Earth City, they came in their lunch hour, and they quit coming here. We lost about 25 to 30% income.”
Hair Establishment Cosmetologist Sherri Shields adds, “Sometimes people are late, and we just gotta roll with the flow, and you just tell the next person, hey, they were late because of the construction. They get it.”
Assuming no severe weather hits, business should be back to normal when the whole project is completed on Monday, August 26th.
The westbound span had to be redone because it was aging. However, drivers will not have to endure ‘round two’ of Blanchette Bridge construction for decades, since the eastbound span was built 20 years later.
MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO (KTVI) – There is a traffic alert for drivers who use the Blanchette Bridge on Interstate 70.
You may want to avoid the area overnight this week as crews shut down lanes and ramps to get ready to reopen the rehabbed westbound side of the bridge.
MoDOT is hoping to have three lanes, plus an exit-only lane, open by Friday on the new westbound side of the bridge.
That span has been shut down since last November for a major facelift.
Lane and ramp closures started Tuesday at 8:00pm and continued until early Wednesday morning.
Modot says at one point during the night, westbound I-70 at the bridge was reduced to just one lane and two lanes were open eastbound.
There will be more closures Wednesday and Thursday night in this same general area.
Crews need to restripe the lanes and remove some barrier walls to get traffic moving back on the westbound side of the bridge by Friday.
MoDOT is suggesting drivers use Interstate 370 or Highway 364 (Page Avenue extension) as alternate routes.
Get updates on the construction from MoDOT: http://www.modot.org/stlouis/major_projects/BlanchetteBridgerenovations.htm