ST. LOUIS – The Missouri Department of Transportation has halted construction of the eastbound Interstate 44 bridge at Shrewsbury until the spring over concerns about the bridge’s durability.
According to Andrew Gates, a MoDOT spokesman, inspectors observed numerous cracks on the westbound bridge. These cracks, about the width of a credit card, appeared in larger numbers than expected.
Inspectors were concerned salt and water would get into the cracks and get beneath the driving surface, which could reduce the lifespan of the bridge.
MoDOT St. Louis District Engineer Tom Blair said the eastbound bridge shares the same design and construction as the westbound bridge. As a result, MoDOT is bringing in a third-party to help determine the cause of possible long-term effects of the cracking on the westbound span.
The third-party consultant will review materials, procedures, and overall design of the project, Blair said. This analysis and review could take several months.
With bridge construction suspended, the work zones on I-44 between Shrewsbury and Jamieson will remain in place.
Gates said crews will shift traffic on eastbound I-44 and will also close westbound I-44 for the weekend to seal the bridge deck. Crews will close all westbound lanes between Hampton and Shrewsbury—and all but one eastbound lane at Shrewsbury—at 8 p.m. Friday, November 16.
All lanes and ramps should reopen by 6 a.m. Monday, November 19.