St. Charles city officials are hoping the year-long Blanchette Bridge roadwork that starts this weekend won’t have too much of a negative impact on its stores, casino and restaurants .
Starting this Sunday, all westbound lanes of the bridge will be closed, so that workers can rebuild and replace about 75-percent of the structure, which is 54 years old. Traffic will be switched over to the eastbound span to accommodate the work. St. Charles mayor Sally Faith says the city has been working with MoDot to improve signage so shoppers and diners know how to get around.
"We’ve been working all year and it’s here and I don’t know anything else that we could have done. So it’s a concern but we have to watch it and weigh it and see how it works out," Faith said at a press conference Monday.
Faith says the city is still trying to get the word out about the project, so traffic on I-70 isn’t a nightmare starting next week.
Missouri Department of Transportation officials say that motorists will have to change their driving habits or it will be "pretty bad."
"The system is really, uh, we’re fortunate we have it so we can handle this. And people just need to make that decision. That’s the key," said MoDOT St. Louis District engineer Ed Hassinger said Monday. "There’s plenty of capacity, so if you think about things, where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, this should really be pretty smooth. If you don’t, you’re going to have a problem.”
MoDOT recommends that drivers use Route 370 or Route 364 (Page Avenue extension) to get around the Blanchette congestion. The $63 million project is expected to take up to one year to complete.