MoDOT reopens all lanes of I-44 - KMOV.com

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MoDOT reopens all lanes of I-44

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Valley Park Taco Bell on May 3 (KMOV) Valley Park Taco Bell on May 3 (KMOV)
I-44 at Hazelgreen in Laclede County (Credit: MSHP Troop 1) I-44 at Hazelgreen in Laclede County (Credit: MSHP Troop 1)
Police close one lane of Route 141 due to rising waters. (Credit: KMOV) Police close one lane of Route 141 due to rising waters. (Credit: KMOV)
Sky-Zoom 4 captures the increased water levels overtake the underpass stretch of 141 at I-44 (KMOV) Sky-Zoom 4 captures the increased water levels overtake the underpass stretch of 141 at I-44 (KMOV)
Vehicles driving on I-55 (Credit: KMOV) Vehicles driving on I-55 (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT)  has reopened all lanes of Interstate 44 Thursday evening.

The westbound lanes reopened in the afternoon and the eastbound lanes reopened a few hours later.

Early Tuesday morning, more than a 25-mile stretch of Interstate 44 from Interstate 270 in south St. Louis County to Route 100 in Franklin County was closed. During the closure, MoDOT officials said Route 100 from Interstate 270 to Gray Summit would be the new Interstate 44.

Just after 5 a.m. Thursday, MoDOT officials announced all lanes of Interstate 55 were reopen at the Meramec River.

Before the morning rush hour Wednesday, MoDOT closed the onramp from Meramec Bottom to southbound Interstate 55. Crews then started closing the southbound lanes of the interstate from Butler Hill to Route 141 around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday. MoDOT officials said they anticipated closing the northbound lanes of Interstate 55 before the Wednesday evening rush hour, but the lanes remained open. 

Tuesday afternoon, Greg Horn with MoDOT said they were expecting to have to close the interstate, Lemay Ferry and Telegraph Road at the Meramec River crossings after midnight due to the rising floodwaters, but it remained open through Thursday. Southbound traffic moved slowly over the Lemay Ferry Bridge and water came close to being on the road.

Photos: Spring flooding strikes St. Louis area | Mobile users click here

“You all are going to have to decide which side of the river you want to be on when you go to bed tonight because you’re not going to be able to get back and forth,” Horn said Tuesday.

Read: Heavy rains cause flooding, road closures, evacuations throughout area

The impact on traffic following the closures was tremendous, as Highways 30 and 21 were also closed. Between Interstate 64 to the north and Interstate 55 to the south, the only road that was expected to stay open was Route 100. 

“The traffic volumes on Route 100 are going to skyrocket. There’s already a lot of traffic on a normal day, this is going to exceed anything that we’ve experienced back in December of 2015,” he said.

Blair urged drivers along Route 100 to make right turns because “left turn movements onto and off of Route 100 are going to be problematic.” He also said right turns will save everybody time because traffic signals will be dwelling on mainline traffic.

On Interstate 44, only local traffic was allowed westbound past Interstate 270 to Bowles along with one eastbound lane of Interstate 44 to Pacific, Eureka and Route 109.

The flooding is having a historic impact on the roadway system in the St. Louis region, according to MoDOT.

“This closure marks the third spot along Interstate 44 that is closed,” he said. “Motorists planning to travel across the state of Missouri on Interstate 44 should use Interstate 70.”

Currently, Interstate 44 is closed between Rolla and Lebanon and is not expected to reopen until mid to late week.

The flooding closed at least 300 roads across the state.

Here are some of the major routes that were closed during Tuesday morning’s commute:

  • I-44 between Rolla and Lebanon
  • I-44 in St. Louis County will close overnight
  • Route 141 at I-44 in St. Louis County
  • Route 30/Gravois in St. Louis County at Meramec River will close overnight
  • Route 21/Tesson Ferry in St. Louis County at Meramec River will close overnight
  • Route 109 in Eureka in St. Louis County will close overnight
  • Route 63 near Vienna, between Rolla and Jefferson City
  • Route 50 at Mount Sterling in Gasconade County

Most of the major routes are not expected to reopen until late in the week due to rising waters on the major rivers. 

For a list of closures, click here.

While current flood levels are high, they are just under the record-breaking floods levels of Dec. 2015 in the same area. News 4 reported the river crested at 46 feet in Eureka and 44.1 feet in Valley Park. It crested at 47.2 feet in Arnold, which was higher than in 1993. All of these are record high flood levels.

The Office of emergency management released the following ways the rising water will impact drivers and residents: 

  • At 46 feet, the Midwest Motors dealership offices will flood.  At 45.7 feet, Gershenson Construction, on Truitt Drive, will flood At 45.3 feet, Legion Park Community Center will begin flooding.  At 44.5 feet, the intersection of Hwy 109 and Highways W and FF begin flooding. 
  • At 44 feet, Cotton Ace’s Hardware, between South Central Avenue and Hwy 109, begins flooding. 
  • At 43.5 feet, floodwaters will reach the rim around the wastewater treatment plant lagoon. 
  • At 43 feet, numerous businesses along Central Avenue in old town Eureka will begin flooding.  
  • Impact: At 42.0 feet...Missouri State Route 109 near Old State Road is flooded and closed near this height. Also, Lions Park ball fields will begin flooding near this height. 
  • Impact: At 41.5 feet...Near this height, floodwaters will reach the floors of the utility buildings at the wastewater treatment plant, including t he generator shelter. 
  • Impact: At 40.2 feet...Highway 109 at Eureka Senior High School is closed. 
  • Impact: At 40.0 feet...The right bank begins to overflow. 
  • Impact: At 38.8 feet...Interstate 44 is closed near this height. During the December 2015 flood, this highway was closed from Bowles Avenue in Valley Park west to Missouri Route 109 exit in Eureka.
  • Impact: At 38.3 feet...Near this height, Missouri Route 30 (Gravois Ro ad) must be closed in both directions in St. Louis County.
  • Impact:  At 38.0 feet...Railroad bridge just downstream of the Highway 141 bridge begins to flood.
  • Impact: At 37.8 feet...MODOT must take preventative action to keep I-44 lanes open west of Highway 141.
  • Impact: At 36.0 feet...Water begins covering the BNSF rails at this height.
  • Impact: At 35.0 feet...The final flood gate through the BNSF railroad path is closed at this height.
  • Impact: At 34.0 feet...Close Gravois Road at Ware Street and at Water Street. This impact level may vary depending the crest difference of the Mississippi River at St. Louis from 30.8 ft, the March 2008 crest.
  • Impact: At 33.0 feet...Old Highway 141 is closed at Gravois Road and at Gravois Bluffs Blvd. This impact level may vary depending on the crest difference of the Mississippi River at St. Louis from 30.8 ft, the March 2008 crest.
  • Impact: At 30. 0 feet...Allen Road at Old Highway 141 is closed. This impact level may vary depending the crest difference of 
  • the Mississippi River at St. Louis from 30.8 ft, the March 2008 crest.

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