Traffic is now moving in both directions on the Big Bend Bridge over Interstate 270. Some work remains to be done, but it will be completed during off-peak hours.
The Missouri Department of Transportation [MoDOT] has completed replacing the bridge deck for the bridge as part of routine maintenance. The bridge was closed on May 24 for almost three months.
The bridge along Big Bend Road, built in 1962, needed significant repairs to ensure it remained safe and useable. When it opens, there will be five driving lanes across the bridge as well as a sidewalk protected by a barrier on each side.
Construction crews removed and replaced the concrete deck. There are no plans to replace bridge girders of change its foundation.
MoDOT officials say the bridge was closed this summer because there is less traffic at this time of year. They say roughly 12,000 to 16,000 vehicles use Big Bend at the bridge daily.
Closing the bridge during the summer months will not impact daily bus traffic for schools which are out of session until August. Replacing one section of the bridge at a time would cost more and double the length of construction. But even though the bridge has been repaired there are no plans to turn it into a full interchange with I-270.
MoDOT said there are several reasons for not making it a full interchange – a nearby railroad bridge and safety. State officials can build a safe access to the south along I-270 because the railroad bridge is too close.
The I-270 southbound lanes drop significantly from Big Bend into the Meramec River valley. A southbound ramp from Big-Bend In addition, the roadway drops significantly from Big Bend into the Meramec River valley. A southbound ramp from Big-Bend p would have to follow the angle of that drop and merge onto I-270 at I-44. Merging that close to the interstate to interstate interchange would be unsafe.