Poplar Street Bridge making historic slide to add lane; expect traffic delays

ST. LOUIS – The Missouri Department of Transportation will begin getting the eastbound lanes of the Poplar Street Bridge ready for a historic bridge slide scheduled for this weekend. They'll begin by removing a large overhead sign truss, weather permitting.

“We have to remove a large overhead sign truss so tonight crews will be removing those sign trusses and tomorrow night we will take signs down and disassemble it,” said Michelle Forneris, MoDOT area manager. “That will allow us to slide the bridge.”

That means three lanes will be closed in each direction on the I-64 bridge from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. for the next two days.

If the weather and water levels hold up, MoDOT crews will close ramps leading onto I-64 east Friday at 7 p.m.

“Eastbound I-64 will close at 8 p.m. at Jefferson and detours will be in place for folks to maneuver around,” Forneris said.

Starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, crews will begin the estimated 12-hour slide. The reason for this is to create a fifth eastbound lane. The space created from the slide will be tied to the other side and a new lane will be built. That work is expected to be finished in December.

It’s the second longest bridge slide in United States history. However, this will be unique because it’s taking an existing bridge on a major river.

“The Poplar Street Bridge…is just under a half mile long and weighs 20 million pounds,” Forneris said.

Once the eastbound lanes and ramp close Friday evening, they won’t reopen until Monday morning at 5 a.m.

Forneris also has an important safety reminder for people traveling over the bridge in westbound lanes this weekend.

“Please don’t stop on the bridge,” she said. “There is nothing you will see from up there, so please keep moving.”

For more information on closures and detours visit MoDOT.org.