ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The way you use the Poplar Street Bridge is about the change. This change has been planned since 2012. But, it will still be a surprise to some drivers.
Crews are removing the ramp from westbound I-44 to the Poplar Street Bridge. You will no longer be able to get to Illinois from that part of the interstate.
Sections of I-44 and I-55 downtown are shut down. They will be off limits for the weekend as MoDOT takes down the aging ramp that connected the depressed lanes by the Old Cathedral to the Poplar Street Bridge eastbound.
It's another one of those significant traffic disruptions we`ve been managing since sections of highway 40/64 had to be rebuilt. Initially, it will take some getting used to.
The eastbound ramp won`t be replaced. Instead, drivers will need to take other bridges or get on I-64 at 6TH street to head across the river to Illliois.
"Only about 3 percent of the traffic on the Poplar Street Bridge uses this ramp. Since we built the new bridge that`s reduced a lot of the I-70 traffic. So, really you`re talking about the local traffic that uses this ramp." said MoDOT engineer Greg Horn.
MoDOT engineers say in the long run the Poplar Street Bridge ramp system will be safer.
"The permanent removal of this eastbound I-44 ramp will make room for a new two lane ramps that come from the Poplar Street Bridge to southbound I-55 and west bound I-44." said MoDOT engineer Greg Horn.
Illinois is scheduled to build a connector road from the Martin Luther King Bridge to Route 3 in 2016.
4 options (and one future option) to get from downtown to Illinois after the WB I-44/Walnut to EB PSB ramp is gone: pic.twitter.com/KuxTM3tGSI
— MoDOT St. Louis Area (@MoDOT_StLouis) January 16, 2015