ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - If you're planning to use Interstate 64/Highway 40 this weekend around the general area of Barnes Jewish Hospital, get ready for detours and delays.
Starting at 8:00pm Friday, MoDOT will completely close I-64 between Hampton and Forest Park Avenue.
The closure is needed so crews can put several utilities under the highway.
MoDOT area engineer Deanna Venker says crews are planning two simultaneous blasts underground Saturday around 7:00am or 8:00am, "We're going to basically be drilling some holes into the ground and we're going to blast the ground up, loosen up that bedrock so that it's easier for the crews to tear up the rock so that they can replace the utility lines going across the highway."
After the blasts, Venker says crews will start digging, "We have two trenches that we need to dig all the way across the highway, both sections east and westbound. We'll lay two sections of pipe, conduit, lay all the utilities across in these new trenches."
This weekend's work is part of a larger project in the area. Crews are building a new interchange at Tower Grove and Boyle and replacing four bridges over I-64/40.
Venker says detours will be set up for the weekend. She also tells us crews will have the holes in the highway filled with asphalt when I-64 reopens by 3:00am Monday, "If you can avoid the area, come back at I-270, go around, if you can take I-270, I-44, I-55 that will certainly help your efforts and give yourself some extra time as you come out this weekend,"
Venker says the blasts shouldn't be too loud because they are happening underground.
There is another complete weekend closure set for April 19th.
The entire project is slated to be done in July 2014.