COLUMBIA, Ill. – Drivers in who depend on the westbound lanes of the Jefferson Barracks Bridge will have to find an alternate route for at least the rest of the week, and they’re not happy about it.
Scott Hiekes typically works out of his company’s office in Sunset Hills, Missouri, but he said the time it would take to go around the closure to get to work is too much. He said he will work from a different office until the bridge is re-opened.
“I’ll be working out of Collinsville until that happens,” Hiekes said. “I’m not going all the way up to Poplar and around. It’s too long and too much traffic.”
Both MoDOT and IDOT reported delays and heavy traffic Monday morning for multiple alternate routes for commuters coming into Missouri. The heaviest traffic was spotted on Illinois Route 3 and the Poplar Street Bridge portion of I-64 westbound.
Sarah Juelfs anticipates taking that route to get to her a doctors appointment in south St. Louis County this week.
“It’s for 9 a.m., and I’ll probably have to leave at about 6 a.m. when you consider the morning rush hour traffic too,” Juelfs said.
Juelfs said even before considering her drive to her appointment, she felt the impact of the closure when planning her meals for the week.
“That’s where we go," she said. “We go to South County. That’s where all the shops are. That’s where all the restaurants are, I guess I’ll be cooking this week.”
Despite the inconvenience, Juelfs said she would rather have a longer commute in the short-term rather than an unsafe roadway.
“I understand why they’re closing it,” Juelfs said.
IDOT and MoDOT both released statements saying crews will need to inspect the bridge during daylight hours. Once the inspection is complete, the departments will have a more specific timeline for repairing the bridge.