Drivers headed westbound on Interstate 70 will have some relief from the bridge rehabilitation project on I-70 at the Blackwater Bridge. Crews are expected to open all lanes by end of day Thursday, according to a Missouri Department of Transportation news release.
However, eastbound I-70 at the Blackwater Bridge, near mile marker 77 just west of the U.S. 65 interchange, remains reduced to one lane until mid-October. Motorists should expect heavy congestion through the eastbound area during peak travel times especially Friday and Sunday afternoons. Allow extra time for travel, alter departure time to miss peak afternoon traffic or find an alternate route such as U.S. Route 50 or 36.
More than 26,000 vehicles travel this corridor daily, of which 40 percent includes truck traffic. This is a full 24/7 lane closure with reduced lanes to 12 feet. The eastbound bridge is on track to complete mid-October. Pavement work will begin mid-September on eastbound and westbound Interstate 70 from the Blackwater Bridges to the Cooper County line. All work is weather dependent.
Drivers are encouraged to merge every other vehicle, like the teeth of a zipper, at the lane closure, rather than as soon as they see warning signs about which lane will be closed ahead. When drivers merge ahead of time, it causes highly congested traffic, which MoDOT states can lead to “lane switching, inconsistent driving speeds that cause crashes, long back-ups and road rage.”
According to MoDOT, by using two full lanes of traffic until the merge, “your speed difference is reduced between the two lanes and the length of backups is reduced 40 to 50 percent.”
MoDOT has offered these tips for zipper merging:
• With heavy congestion and slowed or stopped traffic, use both lanes and merge at the lane closure.
• Drivers fill both lanes and take turns merging every other car at the point of the lane closure.
For project updates, follow MoDOT Kansas City on Facebook and review the project website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity/major_projects/I-70_Blackwater_Bridges.htm. For more information about other MoDOT projects, visit www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity.