This is what MODOT agreed to with the Federal Transportation Department back in 2007 when they did this in preparation for and during I-64 construction. A MODOT assistant district engineer told me traffic on I-44 increased about 20-percent during the I-64 shutdown, so adding another 20-percent worth of lanes (one lane) worked out perfectly. Now that extra traffic has apparently moved off I-44 so there's no need for that extra lane.
Most of the people I talked to about this on Tuesday at a gas station off I-44 and Elm said they look forward to having the shoulder back. It feels safer and it is safer.
The first phase of the repaving and restriping work begins tonight and the entire project should be finished around the end of the year. The good news is all the work will be taking place at night so our moring and evening commutes should not be significantly impacted.
Mark Schnyder is a reporter for KMOV-TV. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org