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Beam Crack Creates Delays on Poplar St. Bridge

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The Poplar Street Bridge carries traffic on Interstates 55/70 and 64 between Missouri and Illinois.

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis – Major traffic snarls on westbound Highway 40 at the Poplar Street Bridge are expected to continue at least into Thursday morning rush hour.

MODOT closed the right lane of westbound 40 just past the Poplar Street Bridge Tuesday, after crews found a crack in a bridge support.

The snarls have backed traffic back into Illinois all day.

MODOT spokeswoman Linda Wilson says the problem is similar to the cracks that slowed traffic on the Blanchette Bridge near St. Charles in winter 2003.

"It's in a similar location under the bridge," Wilson said. "The Blanchette was much more severe because it was multiple cracks in multiple locations. This is one spot. It's very similar, but slightly less than what we experienced on the Blanchette."

Wilson says the extreme cold likely caused the Blanchette cracks.

She said engineers have not yet determined the exact cause of the the Poplar Street Bridge problem.

But she adds drivers should expect the same problems during rush hour Thursday morning.

Alternates include the King Bridge, the Eads Bridge, and Metrolink.

The Poplar Street Bridge was built in 1967. That segment of Highway 40 carries about 41,000 cars each day.

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