Totally Tubular on I-170

After more than six month of dangerous conditions on I-170 near Eager Road, MoDOT has finally taken some action, though some might consider it a bit extreme.

Back in July, I documented the dangers of an interstate with just a double yellow line separating traffic. This year, things only got worse. If you are southbound on I-170 and want to continue to Eager Road, you steer left of the concrete barrier, right next to oncoming traffic north on I-170. This has resulted in at least a couple of reports of wrong way traffic on the west-to-north flyover ramp.

Tubular MarkerMy recommendation was simple. Line the tenth of a mile of 2-way traffic with tubular markers (shown at the right), similar to those on Hanley at Dale/Eager,. Simple and space-saving. Instead, Gateway Constructors and MoDOT decided to shutdown northbound I-170 traffic from Eager Road. Here’s their explanation:

Though north and southbound I-170 traffic has been in a similar configuration since May without incident, the recent opening of the south to east flyover ramp moved the Eager exit to the left lane, while the center and right lanes took the flyover ramp to eastbound I-64. The design was safe and there have been no major incidents, but the public concern for a change has driven this decision.

C’mon. It’s safe, there’s no incidents, but “public concern” resulted in the change? How can wrong-way drivers on an interstate be considered safe? If it was really safe, there wouldn’t be a need to shut down the northbound lane. It’s not safe, but MoDOT and Gateway Constructors won’t admit it.

What impact will this shutdown have on traffic? Normally, I’d say that this would cause a traffic mess, since the only way to get on northbound I-170 from Hanley is to cut across Eager, north on Brentwood, then get on I-170 at Galleria Parkway. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned since January 2nd it’s that traffic jams are awfully hard to come by. Many of the alternative routes are actually at the same or lower volumes than before the shutdown. Go figure.


January Weekend Woes

Most drivers are already dreading January 2008, with the shutdown of Highway 40/I-64 from Ballas to I-170. But the recently announced bridge closures will only compound problems on the weekends. If you live along the Highway 40 corridor, you might want to plan a weekend getaway in January or plan to snuggle up by the fire with your loved one.

Each bridge closure is shown above — just click on the icons for more information. The most troubling will be the Brentwood shutdown the weekends of January 11-13 and 18-20. Eager road to I-170 may already be bogged down, so you might be best off trying McCutcheon. Or just plan ahead and get to Hanley Road from Manchester (on the south) or Clayton (on the north).


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