By Courtney Gousman
St. Louis County (KSDK) - Rush hour up-and-down Interstate 270 can be a nightmare. Bumper-to-bumper traffic going nowhere fast.
The Missouri Department of Transportation is now preparing for a project that will add lanes to help alleviate some of those problems.
The construction will take place beginning in the spring and the benefits come with some tradeoffs.
"It'll be stop and go for a good 20 minutes," said Des Peres resident Suzanne Miller.
"Oh it's terrible," said Arnold resident Bob Delgman.
"I waste a lot of gas, and it's frustrating. I get a lot of singing done," said Ashley Conroy of St. Louis.
That's how drivers describe the rush hour commute up-and-down I-270, north of I-44.
MoDOT workers say by the spring, they plan to begin work on I-270 that would add an extra lane in each direction permanently. For northbound drivers who see back-ups in the morning, there would be a fifth lane added between I-44 and Manchester.
For southbound drivers who see congestion in the evening, the extra lane would be between I-44 and Dougherty Ferry.
"By adding this additional lane, we'll get a lot better traffic flow through there and the back-ups will be much less," said Tom Evers, a Project Manager with MoDOT.
Evers says this extra lane could increase rush-hour speeds by 15 miles an hour.
But there is a trade-off. Lanes that are now 12 feet, will be reduced to 11 feet to make room for the extra lane.
"I don't like the narrow lane. You know trucks and texting and that part scares me," said Miller.
"Traffic's pretty hectic. Having an extra lane is really going to be great for everybody," said Delgman.
"Make it a little easier to get to work. Ought to speed things up a little bit," said Donald Torrini of St. Louis.
"We've used this in temporary situations. An 11 foot lane is not an obstacle or a perceived hazard by motorists. People handle it very well," said Evers.
You may recall drivers had a hard time deciphering what's a lane and what not a lane on interstates 44 and 70 a few years back, when MoDOT created extra lanes by painting over lane markers. Evers says lessons were learned and this project will be different.
"Resurface the road first with asphalt and then stripe it," he said.
The lane addition project carries an $11.5 million price tag and is expected to last through December of 2013.
A public meeting laying out all the details of this project is set for Monday, January 30th from 4-7 p.m. at The Lodge, 1050 Des Peres Road in Des Peres.