MoDOT doesn’t yet know when – or if – westbound Jefferson Barracks Bridge will reopen

By on May 15, 2019

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  Transportation officials said Wednesday they are uncertain when the westbound lanes of Jefferson Barracks Bridge across the Mississippi River will reopen.

And they left open the possibility that they will have to route a westbound lane onto the eastbound span as a long-term solution.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is expecting lab tests Thursday on the portion of the bridge where cracks were discovered Sunday, district engineer Tom Blair said Wednesday. Inspectors have also found other, less severe cracks in other parts of the bridge.

Once the test results are in, MoDOT can determine whether it will reopen the bridge or build a cross-over to move one lane of westbound Interstate 255 to the eastbound bridge, Blair said.

“I cannot give you a definitive schedule until we get those results back,” he said in an afternoon news conference.

But inspection of the bridge was continuing Wednesday, as traffic congestion along routes to alternative bridges to Missouri remained a challenge. That was particularly true around the Poplar Street Bridge in East St. Louis, the nearest alternate Mississippi River crossing, and along Illinois Route 3 leading to it.

“We don’t take making the decision to close the bridge lightly, but safety must be our primary concern in cases such as this,” Blair said.

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