I-270

MoDOT Completing Western Terminus of I-270 North Project

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On Schedule for Dec 2023 Finish

By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

MoDOT is this month celebrating the near completion of the new and improved southbound Lindbergh Boulevard section of its 8.6-mile, $278 million Interstate 270 North Design-Build Project.

The entire project stretches along I-270 north from Lindbergh Boulevard on the west to Route 367 on the east.

MoDOT’s largest project in 10 years began in April 2020 and is on track to complete in December 2023, according to I-270 North Deputy Project Director Eric Kopinski. “We are nearing the finishing stages of the Lindbergh Boulevard interchange,” he said. “We still need to demo the existing bridge in mid-August, but we’re close.”

Replacing both highway bridges over I-270 at New Florissant Road and New Halls Ferry Road is another facet of the mega-project that crews are tackling. Extensive work is being performed to make the outer road system safer and more expedient for motorists. MoDOT is phasing the work to keep lanes open to through traffic. This portion of the project is expected to continue through Fall 2022.

Construction of new I-270 North bridge over New Florissant Road

“We’re completely rebuilding the outer road and adjusting ramp locations to make it safer for travelers,” Kopinski said, noting that a new bridge connecting Pershall Road to Dunn Road improves connectivity, allowing motorists driving along Old Halls Ferry; now drivers can use Pershall Road to cross over I-270 and continue along Dunn Road.

MoDOT Communications Coordinator Nina Thompson said the work to replace and rebuild aging infrastructure – many of these highway bridges were built in the 1960s – with modern design features not only adds capacity but increases access for pedestrians.

“We’re adding multi-use trails on both sides of the highway (at New Florissant and New Halls Ferry) to allow for limited bicycling and jogging,” Thompson said.

Safety improvements are being achieved, MoDOT says, by eliminating crossover slip ramps at Pershall and Dunn that for years required motorists to cross over a lane of traffic that was headed toward them as they exited I-270.

“We’ve done extensive traffic modeling and safety analysis to ensure that what we’re building and improving today along I-270 will adequately serve motorists years down the road,” said Kopinski, noting that 140,000 vehicles travel this stretch of I-270 north every day and approximately 18 percent of that is truck traffic.

The final major section of the I-270 North Design-Build Project, the new Route 367 interchange, will commence soon. “It has long been a standard cloverleaf interchange,” Kopinski said. “We are ramping up this summer and fall to make significant changes.”

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MoDOT Asks Business Stakeholders for Input on State’s Rail and Freight Plan

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

MoDOT Waterways and Freight Administrator Cheryl Ball is asking freight owners, shippers, truckers and other stakeholders for input as the agency writes its 2021 combined rail and freight infrastructure plan.

For the first time ever, MoDOT is crafting a 5-year strategic plan that includes both rail and freight. The most recent rail plan was drafted in 2012, and the latest freight plan was completed in 2014. Ball says it makes sense to combine both plans into one to best serve business and industry stakeholders.

“One plan makes sense in terms of interpreting the data and in harnessing the expertise of our stakeholders in the most efficient way,” Ball said. “We’re seeking input from all stakeholders – in Missouri, regionally and across the U.S. – as to how we can continually make operational improvements to make our transportation infrastructure as safe and certain as possible for those whose businesses depend upon reliable, predictable routes and schedules.”

Rail traffic comprises 50 percent of all the freight traffic in Missouri, according to Ball, while truck traffic also comprises 49 percent to 50 percent. Water, air and pipeline together comprise less than 2 percent of all statewide freight traffic.

“Interstate 70 is one focus of our plan,” she said. “For example, trucking industry stakeholders told us that if there’s a crash on I-70 in the rural parts of Missouri, there’s not an escape route. That makes the route subject to a lot of uncertainty in terms of the projected time to carry goods to their destination. We’re looking at work we can do to improve emergency ramps in locations where frequent crashes occur. Operational efficiency strategies are a big part of making our major trucking routes not only safe but also dependable.”

Another example of work with industry stakeholders, says Ball, are communications strategies to ensure that transportation stakeholders are aware, weeks ahead of time, if they need to reroute due to anticipated road projects such as the I-270 reconstruction. “Shippers want to know that if they route a truck through this corridor, is it going to add 45 minutes, two hours or four hours to their time estimate,” Ball said. “Particularly for warehouse and distribution stakeholders, traveling from city to city might be reliable but traveling those last few miles, exiting the interstate to their destination, can wreak havoc with their projected schedules. A major goal of our integrated rail and freight plan is to make changes and improvements that lessen these uncertainties for businesses whose livelihoods rely upon infrastructural and operational efficiency.”

Business and industry members interested in providing input to MoDOT toward its 2021 rail and freight plan are encouraged to contact the agency via https://www.modot.org/contact-information. Trucking companies are also encouraged to take the latest Missouri truck parking survey at https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/079af1bb10154a3da76c8853da10481b/

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