ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Early preparations for construction on the Blanchette Bridge will cause some headaches for drivers this weekend.
Three lanes of westbound I-70 at the Earth City Expressway will be shut down starting Friday at 8 p.m. as crews will be restriping lanes and putting in a barrier wall that will separate the through lanes of I-70 with the exit lanes of Earth City in preparation for the Missouri River bridge closure starting the first weekend in November. The three lanes will be back open by 5 a.m. Sunday.
With the litany of closures and preparations leading up to the big close, drivers are already fretting.
“I’m really stressing about it because I know I’ve had to change my work schedule to accommodate,” said Sandy Dascenzo, a frequent traveler of I-70. “They closed down one lane and it was a nightmare,” she added.
But MoDOT says all the work is necessary to prepare for the big switch in a couple weeks.
“We’ll be doing a lot of work this weekend basically to get as much done because we have a lot to do on the bridge and crossovers the weekend of November 2,” said Engineer Tom Evers.
That’s the weekend the entire westbound side will close for the next year, and all traffic will share the eastbound lanes of the bridge.
“It’s getting more done ahead of time so not everything is in the same week,” Evers said. “That way people can get used to the configuration.’
MoDOT says the timing of all the projects is intentional and completely planned, even if it causes some premature headaches for drivers like Dascenzo.
“I keep telling myself—no it’s gonna close,” she said. “Three lanes on each side for a year. I’ve been waiting on this for a year!”
Missouri Department of Transported officials said at least two westbound lanes will remain open to traffic throughout the weekend.
The ramps at Earth City Expressway and westbound I-70 will also be closed from 8 p.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Saturday.
Drivers are being told to use I-270 to either Route 370 or Route 364 to access Earth City Expressway/Route 141.
The newly-installed wall will separate three lanes on the left from one lane on the right.
The work is being done in preparation for the closure of the westbound I-70 Blanchette Bridge, which will stay closed through fall of next year.