Regional travel to again be affected by road closures

St. Louis – Officials at the Missouri Department of Transportation are telling drivers to stay away from the Poplar Street Bridge complex this weekend as crews do work on the approaches and the bridge itself.

Eastbound Interstate 64 will close Friday at 7pm from 22nd St. to 8th St. for bridge deck painting. Most lanes will reopen before rush hour Monday morning, but one will be closed until Monday's afternoon rush. Also on Friday, the department is closing two lanes on the east and westbound Poplar Street Bridge, which will reopen Sunday afternoon.

Also this weekend, contractors will shut down Interstate 55 in both directions from Reavis Barracks Rd. to Bayless Ave. to put up the girders for the Union Rd. bridge.

The closures will make it harder for Rams fans and those attending the Tea Party's rally at the Archgrounds to get downtown, said MoDOT assistant district engineer Tom Blair. But the work needs to be completed soon.

"The temperatures are starting to drop, it makes us nervous how many more weekends or how many more opportunities before it gets too cold for us to get this work done," he said.

And while rain is possible this weekend, Blair said there's not much that will stop the contractors.

"Our contractor thinks as long as there's not a torrential downpour or lightning, they're going to be going. So this is somewhat weather dependent, but it's going to have to be pretty harsh weather because they need to get the work done, we need to get the work done," he said.

Blair said all other work zones in the city and county will be idled to open alternate routes. Local traffic will still be able to travel through downtown and south city and county, he said, but those who are traveling through should use the other interstates.

He warned St. Charles drivers to watch for traffic slowdowns near the Interstate 70-370 interchange, where lanes will be closed for bridge repair work.