ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Drivers traveling on eastbound Interstate 64/Highway 40 Friday night should expect long delays, as construction issues will continue to leave only one lane open through the weekend.
Some drivers say it took over an hour to go a mile on Thursday night, which could be an indication of things to come Friday.
“We’ll be continuing to check our bolts over the course of the day as we do and tightening them down, making sure that they remain tight,” said MoDOT engineer Deanna Venker. “If they become loose, we are going to have to close it down periodically.”
The problem stems from steel plates used to cover the ongoing work. When crews wrap up each day they bolt down steel plates over unfinished work. That way the lanes can reopen with traffic driving over the plates.
“Yesterday, we had a failure of the bolt in which case the whole bolt moved and that obviously took some time to repair,” said Venker.
MoDOT officials said they put the bolts in place just a few weeks ago.
Venker explained why the bolts got loose so soon.
“The pure amount of traffic that comes over the bolts, along with the vibration of the bridge itself and the speeds that are being traveled over there and the actual width of these plates, it’s all working together to make it difficult and make it an ongoing task everyday to make these plates stay down,” she said.
To make sure the bolts do not get loose every few weeks, MoDOT is going to close parts of I-64 and I-70. Most of the interstate should be opened on Monday morning at the latest.
“That’s part of this weekend’s plan, take advantage of all those closures and replace all those bolt patterns on all those steel plates so that we don’t have them coming loose,” said Venker.
The construction will cause problems all weekend in downtown St. Louis. Westbound I-64 will be closed from Broadway to 21st street starting at 6 p.m. Friday. The eastbound lanes of that same stretch will be down to one lane.
In addition to those problems, the depressed section of I-70 in downtown St. Louis will be shut down starting at 8 p.m. Friday.
Those lanes will be shut down until 9 a.m. Monday as MoDOT crews work on that piece of roadway.
The closures will also shut down the reversible lanes until 5 a.m. on Monday.
Drivers with road questions or comments can contact MoDOT at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636).