By Dana Dean
St. Charles, Mo (KSDK) -- A little over five months from now, Interstate 70 is expected to be heavily congested during morning and evening rush hours because of construction on the Blanchette Bridge.
On Friday morning, St. Charles business owners learned details about the westbound I-70 Blanchette Bridge construction. Commuters will be affected from November 2012 through December 2013.
Starting the first weekend of November, westbound I-70 traffic will be detoured to the eastbound I-70 bridge.
People are used to five lanes in each direction, but there will only be three lanes in each direction on one bridge while the westbound bridge is being worked on.
All of the ramps will remain open except for one. Northbound Fifth Street to the eastbound I-70 ramp will be closed.
Commuters can use Route 370 to avoid construction. They can use Route 364 to Arena Parkway as an alternate route to downtown St. Charles.
Business owners hope the project won't stop people from visiting St. Charles.
Rose Throw, business owner, said, "I would say everyone is hopeful. We are trying to be positive. I think the biggest concern is Christmas. 'Christmas Traditions' comes down and a lot of people come to St. Charles and we don't want them to be scared."
Linda Wilson, MODOT Community Relations coordinator, said, "If you're wanting to come in and out of St. Charles to go shopping or go to restaurants or whatever, middle of the day, weekends, you shouldn't have a problem. But for commuting traffic, we need people to be planning now for what alternates they're going to take starting in November."
The westbound I-70 bridge is over 50 years old and MODOT says it needs major rehab. The project will cost $63 million.
For more information, visit the following websites:
City of St. Charles Blanchette Bridge Project
Missouri Department of Transportation Blanchette Bridge Project