By Alex Fees
St. Charles, MO (KSDK) - It's "go" time for Missouri Department of Transportation contractors working on the Blanchette Bridge project.
Or, perhaps more accurately, "stop" time.
Crews will work this weekend to restrict lanes on the eastbound Blanchette Bridge, to make room for westbound traffic. The westbound bridge will be closed by Monday morning rush hour.
MoDOT Community Relations Coordinator Linda Wilson Horn could be called the Director of Detours.
Friday afternoon, Wilson Horn said, "We've closed two lanes of eastbound I-70 between Highway 94 and Fifth Street. And crews are doing striping as they prepare to narrow lanes and get eastbound traffic squished over to right side off highway."
Wilson Horn said as crews move through Friday night they will eventually have 2 lanes open eastbound.
"And by Saturday morning we will only have two lanes open on westbound I-70. And crews will work around the clock until Monday morning, doing striping, installing all the work zone signs. The most time-consuming work is pinning over a mile of concrete barrier to the pavement and the bridge deck so we can separate the eastbound lanes from the westbound lanes."
Starting Monday, the current eastbound bridge will carry three lanes of traffic eastbound and three lanes westbound.
Wilson Horn said, "The traffic will stay on the westbound bridge until sometime late Sunday, then it will get moved over so we have all traffic on eastbound bridge. The westbound will be completely closed. And crews will still have some more striping and finish work they have to do so we're ready for 5:00 Monday morning for rush hour."
Wilson Horn said the opposing lanes of traffic will be separated by a concrete barrier.
"The barrier wall is your standard barrier you see when you drive through a work zone, but because they are such tight lanes, we don't want that wall to move is somebody were to hit it. So each barrier is pinned to the bridge deck with six pins. And that's what takes so long over the course of this weekend."
North and southbound entrances to I-70 approaching the bridge will be impacted over the weekend, as well.
"On Friday afternoon we have the ramp from northbound Fifth Street to eastbound 70 closed," she said. "That ramp is going to stay closed until next fall, so it stays closed as long as the bridge is closed. For a little while today, we are going to also have to close the southbound Fifth Street to eastbound I-70 ramp; so for a while on Friday night there won't be any access to eastbound 70 from Fifth Street. Then on Sunday, at some point during the day we'll be working in the westbound direction. So we'll have some ramp closures at Earth City, and at the westbound ramps of Fifth Street, again for striping as they finish stuff up. It'll be a couple hours for Earth City and a couple hours at Fifth Street."