Over the weekend, the Missouri Department of Transportation started the process of taking I-44 (from I-270 to downtown St. Louis) down to four lanes.
Remember: the state paved over the shoulders of I-44 and narrowed lanes to squeeze in an extra lane each way to handle detour traffic during the 64/40 project.
Now: MODOT is starting to return I-44 to a four lane configuration with each lane going back to the standard 12-foot width. Crews painted over the old lane markings on the east-bound side with black paint. However, some drivers are complaining that the reflective white paint underneath still shines through - in direct sunlight. It could be an issue for east-bound traffic - heading downtown in the morning.
MODOT says the paint job is temporary. The state plans to resurface I-44 this summer, then permanently repaint the lanes. So, why re-stripe before resurfacing - only to re-stripe again?
MODOT's engineer for this area told me that the resurfacing work will be done section-by-section. Asphalt will be put in place lane-by-lane and the state wanted the four lanes marked in order to prevent drivers from traveling on uneven pavement later this summer. Engineers also want the new driving lanes to match up with pavement lines.
The east-bound resurfacing work begins in June and will continue through July (and possibly August). After the east-bound lanes are resurfaced and repainted, MODOT will start the process over with the west-bound lanes.
The entire project is set to be completed by late fall.
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