Traffic over the Mississippi River to and from downtown St. Louis is being redirected again. The Martin Luther King Bridge closes for repairs Monday at 9 a.m. It will remain closed for at least four months.
The Illinois Department of Transportation originally planned to close MLK Bridge on July 6, but held off until the Missouri Department of Transportation reopened all lanes of the Poplar Street Bridge.
“We understand that when we close any lanes going in or out of the city it’s going to add to the rush hours in that direction. So we want to make sure people give themselves some extra time.” IDOT engineer Jeff Church said. “We will have the marked detour that uses the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. And we did wait and coordinate with Missouri to make sure they’d finished work on the westbound Poplar Street Bridge so that we wouldn’t be doubling up … on the closures.”
MLK is expected to reopen in early to mid-December.
“The contract completion date was the end of November, but that was assuming we started on July 6. So since we delayed two weeks because of Missouri’s delay with the Poplar Street Bridge we’re anticipating that we could have a couple weeks delay on that. So we’re looking at early to mid-December as the most likely completion date,” Church said.
About $16 million in repairs are planned, including replacing the steel grid deck underneath the driving surface. The deck is more than 50 years old.
The steel grid deck has "been there since the bridge was originally constructed and it’s deteriorated to the point that we actually need to replace it,” explained Church.
Expansion joints and structural steel will also be repaired, and the bridge will be repainted.
IDOT estimates that almost 27,000 cars cross the MLK bridge on an average day.
Sarah Kellogg contributed to this report.
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