MoDOT holds virtual open house on replacing Big Bend Bridge over Interstate 44

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The Big Bend Bridge over Interstate 44.

By Gloria Lloyd, News Editor

Drivers who use the Big Bend bridge over Interstate 44 in St, Louis County may want to view the information provided in a public meeting next week about the Missouri Department of Transportation’s plan to replace the decaying bridge in 2022.

Individuals can call into the WebEx virtual meeting between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19.  If needed the meeting password is hiGpyVdY584.

To view available information, or to log in to the virtual meeting Jan. 19, visit:

https://www.modot.org/big-bend-i44-vpm.

Information about the project and a comment form is available for viewing until Feb. 2, 2021. 

The bridge is technically in the city of Oakland, but is near the Crestwood city line and is the closest interstate exit to Crestwood.

MoDOT planners are proposing that construction on the new bridge start in spring 2022, with an expected weekend closure to demolish the bridge and then a four-month closure with a detour to the two surrounding Interstate 44 exits onto Elm Avenue and South Lindbergh Boulevard in Sunset Hills to continue on Lindbergh or go to Watson Road in Crestwood. Previously, the state agency has replaced other bridges in the area with similar detours, including one on South Lindbergh Boulevard near Green Park and Interstate 55.

The Big Bend bridge was built in 1967 and is reaching the end of its useful life, with decay evident, MoDOT says on the project website.

“It needs constant maintenance, the driving surface and the bridge structure continues to deteriorate and it is cheaper to rebuild this bridge than to rehabilitate it,” MoDOT wrote on the project website. “In addition, rebuilding the bridge allows the department to raise the bridge to interstate standards, which should reduce the number of times the bridge gets struck. The replacement also allows the department to bring the barrier walls and sidewalks along the bridge up to current design standards.”

On the webpage and during the meeting, MoDOT engineers will share information about the project, schedule and expected impacts to commuters for the project, discuss the proposals and hear concerns from residents along the roadway.

There will be no formal presentation. Participants may log in at any time during the open house-style virtual meeting.

This meeting will allow the public to get information about the project and to provide comments, either directly to the engineers or in written comments, on potential impacts due to the construction of this project.

MoDOT said the bridge’s sidewalks will be made wider to meet handicapped-accessible standards, the bridge will be built higher to meet new interstate standards and there will be extra left turn lanes on the ramps from eastbound and westbound Interstate 44.