The Jefferson Barracks bridge has cracks, it crosses the Mississippi about ten miles south of downtown St. Louis.
We headed out Monday morning for a funeral 450 miles west, I-255 was closed. We can see the JB bridge from our house on the bluffs, it's about two miles away. We had to work our way downtown through Cahokia. It took an hour.
I'm seeing reports of two hour trips to get across the river and ten mile backups as all access roads are bottlenecking.
Emergency medical services are scrambling to respond, tons of shopping and recreation getting killed, no immediate end in sight.
This is Interstate 255, federal, no? Why is MoDot (Missouri Dept. of Transportation) heading the fustercluck? You'd think in 1985 when the bridge was built, the engineering was pretty straightforward. Lowest bidder, political cronyism, wtf? Even if heads roll, life for tens of thousands of us down here is now a lot more difficult. Until names are named, I offer a generic "Thanks, assholes".
I-255 westbound closed at JB Bridge
The Missouri Department of Transportation announced Wednesday afternoon that the inspection on the damaged Jefferson Barracks Bridge is almost complete, but it is uncertain when the bridge will be safe to reopen.
MoDOT will know more late tomorrow afternoon after it gets the results of extensive lab tests from samples from the portion of the bridge where cracks were discovered.
MoDOT said it awarded an emergency contract to get additional resources on the bridge to complete needed repairs and has already began making repairs.
“We don’t take making the decision to close the bridge lightly, but safety must be our primary concern in cases such as this,” said Tom Blair, district engineer for MoDOT St. Louis. “We are doing everything we can to expedite this process, and are working around the clock to reopen the bridge as soon as possible after we can definitely verify the bridge is safe.”
MoDOT announced Monday that all westbound lanes of I-255 at the Jefferson Barracks Bridge near Columbia are closed at least through the week following damage discovered Sunday afternoon during a routine inspection.
Missouri Department of Transportation inspectors found cracks in the steel truss of the westbound span of the bridge and announced its complete closure so engineers could further investigate and determine an emergency repair plan, according to Joe Molinaro, MoDOT’s bridge engineer for the St. Louis Region.
“Our inspectors found a six-foot crack under the weld of a critical portion of the bridge’s structure,” Blair explained at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. “Further inspections since Sunday have found similar cracks in other, similar locations of the westbound bridge. But the good news is none of those new cracks that they found are near as significant as the one they found on Sunday.”
After finding the first crack, MoDOT closed the bridge and has spent the last few days inspecting the westbound bridge more closely. It also did a second inspection of the eastbound bridge, where no cracks have been found.
Blair said he hopes to be able to offer a more definitive plan for the bridge once it gets the test results, though that announcement may not come until Friday.
“As soon as we get those results back and as soon as we come up with a clear strategy of when we can get the resources on the bridge and get it reopened and everything, we’ll let you know.,” he said.
The test results should also help MoDOT determine the cause of the cracks.
“If those results cause us to have do really extensive repairs that take a long time, I want everyone to understand MoDOT has already begun designing a cross-over,” Blair explained. “We do not want to move head-to-head traffic on the existing 255 bridge, but we are preparing to do that if necessary. We hope that when we get the results back that they tell us we can make some pretty quick repairs, and in a matter of a few working days and nights, we can get the bridge open.”
In the meantime, MoDOT is recommending drivers take the Poplar Street Bridge or Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge into St. Louis instead.
Monday morning’s rush period saw a large number of vehicles on Route 3 and westbound I-64 across the Poplar Street Bridge, MoDOT said. There was a slight increase in traffic on the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, and no change in traffic on the westbound Chain of Rocks Bridge.
The Illinois Department of Transportation said a large portion of commuters used northbound Route 3 through Sauget, causing significant delays accessing the Poplar Street Bridge.
“However, there was available capacity for most of the morning rush on the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial, McKinley, Eads and Chain of Rocks Bridges,” IDOT said.
Wednesday also saw heavy traffic, though that was due in large part to several accidents throughout the area.
The westbound span of the JB Bridge opened in 1985. About 100,000 vehicles travel both spans daily.
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And there are thousands of other bridges just like it, cracks and all, just waiting to collapse and kill people.
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Two lanes alleged to be open tomorrow. Looking forward to creeping across, bumper to bumper, pretty much maximizing the load on the bridge, what with the third lane filled with construction vehicles.
Set the controls for the heart of the Sun.
All those fuel taxes, plate fees and other boondoggles and the streets and bridges suck.
I cant think of a bigger government ripoff and failure.
End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
1985? What the hell, that bridge is only 30 some years old. The crooks that designed and built that thing are probably long gone by now. What a rip off.
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Probably nothing some 'JB Weld' won't fix....
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Like the Latson Road interchange off I-96. Opened in 2013, soon after there were repairs done to the bridge deck. Several ramp rebuilding projects since said opening including one now. And our Governor wants more money to allegedly fix the roads.
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It sounds like you're blaming this on Illinois. From the sound of things Missouri is responsible for the bridge.
The infrastructure of the United States is in serious need of repair. We had to live with two main bridges out for over a year due to Hurricane Katrina. It was a nightmare. I can empathize.
Maybe OAC's Green New deal will fix it?
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Every year as the bride & I make our trip to Omaha, anxiety sets in as we cross the Ohio at Louisville, the Mississippi at St Louis & the Missouri over KC. It’s a long way down, especially the Ohio.
Kind of open now. A three lane bridge west bound, two lanes open 5am to 10am, one lane otherwise. Traffic creeps bumper to bumper, max load on the bridge I'd guess in the morning.
The JB Bridge is two separate bridges. If major work is needed on the west bound section, the east bound will become two directions, yikes. No detected problems with the east bound span so far, we'll see about that, huh?
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Has anyone tried to use JB Weld on the JB Bridge?
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I feel your pain - January 2017 Delaware River Bridge connecting NJ and PA Turnpikes was out of service due to significant crack in the steel structure! This caused a diversion of the traffic across the Burlington Bristol Bridge which is sketchy at best on a good day.
So much to fix in the states - yet we throw money into the recurrant urban failures.
Delaware Bridge Failure
Burlington Bristol Bridge
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