Ask the Patch Pro: MoDOT Answers Your Questions

MoDOT expert Linda Wilson Horn is waiting in the comments to answer your traffic and road questions from 7:30-11 a.m. in the latest installment of Ask the Patch Pro.

It's time for another edition of Ask the Patch Pro, where each week we tackle a different topic and open up the comments section for questions. Our team of experts stop in to help you out and answer your questions.

This week, Patch teamed up with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to answer your road, construction and traffic questions. 

MoDOT Community Relations Coordinator Linda Wilson Horn has agreed to help us out this week. Linda will be available to answer questions in the comment section from 7:30-11 a.m. on Thursday. 

Got a question? Ask below!

Stephen Reece December 20, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Why do some traffic lights have blinking, yellow left turn arrows, and others have the green left turn arrow. This is becoming confusing. Is there not a standard ?
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 03:09 PM
The flashing yellow arrow is the same as a green ball that allows you to turn left in a yielding condition. It is newer technology that we have started using. It allows us to use the signal differently at different times of the day. Sometimes in rush hour, you don't want a yielding left for safety reasons. So the flashing yellow arrow signal will have some time with a green arrow and other times with a flashing (yielding) yellow arrow. We are slowing funding these changes so for a while you will see the older type signals too that have the green arrow and the green ball. Both are considered standard.
Bill December 20, 2012 at 03:11 PM
The entrance to 140 north from westbound Olive has to be the most confusing spot in town. It's really hard for someone that doesn't do it every day to find the right place to turn.
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 03:12 PM
This signal is a school signal and the school pays for it to operate during school hours only. Even if we operated it as green all day, when no one is coming in and out of the school it would almost never change. Therefore it would have the same problem all day with people not being used to it changing on them. It's a tough situation because we understand the school needs it at two times per day, but the rest of the day it's not needed. There are warning signs to watch for the signal, but the bottomline is motorists need to pay more attention.
Stephen Reece December 20, 2012 at 03:12 PM
I have noticed intersections on some new road construction are not 90 degrees , but at angles that require you to turn completely around, to see oncoming traffic. Was there any thought given to safety? At 90 degrees you only have to look left and right to see traffic. I find these angled intersections difficult to navigate.
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 03:25 PM
You are right that our maintenance crews did some large 100 foot patches to Route N earlier. I will check in with them and see when the striping will be touched up. Thanks.
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I have heard this complaint. It is a right turn, which is expected, but I think the location of that turn is somewhat unexpected. I will talk to our engineers in that area and see if there is something else they can do with signing or striping to help it.
Doris Borgelt December 20, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Could you please address the second question in my post regarding Tenbrook and Jeffco at Fox Campus please?
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 03:36 PM
You have to give me a specific location because every intersection is designed specific to the location. Sometimes the two roads don't connect at a ninety degree or the property constraints don't allow for it.
Doris Borgelt December 20, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Regarding the light at Rockport School on Jeffco, if a light is green, people drive through, if it turns yellow, they slow down because they know it is going to turn red. When it flashes yellow all other times and just immediately turns red when the school deems it necessry, that is not safe. Is this light manually controlled or automatic? Why would it operate in the summer when the school is closed?
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Oh sorry. I will pass this along to the traffic engineer in that area to see what they can do with that signal.
Earl Higgins December 20, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I, along with a number of other people, apparently thought we were supposed to ask the question as a comment to the ORIGINAL article regarding this installment of "Ask The Pro". It would be great if, in between answering "live" questions, you could answer the questions at http://universitycity.patch.com/articles/ask-the-patch-pro-modot-answers-your-questions-on-thursday-9f4b4439 including mine which was: "Will the new westbound Interstate 70 bridge into St. Charles County have any facilities for pedestrians/bicycles?" Thanks!
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I will go check out that link too. Thanks for letting me know. The Patch folks said to answer here, but I'll search around for the other question. To answer yours, the westbound I-70 bridge into St Charles will not have a bike/ped path. We are doing a rehab so the new bridge deck can only be the same size as the old since the foundation (the piers) aren't being repleaced. We cannot add a cantilevered bike/ped. We do have a bike lane on Route 370. We also have a bike/ped walkway on Route 364 and the new I-64 Boone Bridge will have one too. So three of our four river bridges into ST Charles County will have one.
Winchell MacNeill December 20, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Thanks for the question about bicycle accommodations. How about the same thing going across the 141 bridge over the Meramec just north of 141? You may recall that was one of the highest items listed on the MoDOT high priority list for bike/ped projects developed in fall 2010. There are no other options for getting across the river in southwest St. Louis County other than the Highway 30 bridge, and this would be a huge help to bicyclists and pedestrians and in particular, those who'd love to get out of their cars and on bikes for their work/school commute.
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 04:26 PM
I answered this over on the U City Patch page, but I'll answer it again here. I'm assuming you mean on 141 in Valley Park just north of I-44. We have plans to rebuild the 141 and I-44 interchange. I will pass along the concerns about pedestrian accommodations and they can try to work those in to the project which is scheduled in just a couple of years.
Earl Higgins December 20, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Thanks for your reply Ms. Wilson Horn. So refreshing to hear from one of the many government employees who really care about what they do!
Mark Herrington December 20, 2012 at 04:39 PM
When will the I-44 exit to MO Hwy 109 (Exit 264) get some much needed attention to reduce major conjestion in the main lanes of westbound I-44? I reported this about 4 years ago to MoDoT and two years ago to our state representative. I heard back from the MoDoT engineer that the slowdown lane was sufficiently long enough to deal with the traffic, based on MoDoT's highway engineering guidelines. Anybody exiting at Exit 264 between 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm (rush hour) can attest that the slowdown lane is not long enough because the traffic routinely backs up in the main traffic lanes to the I-44 railroad bridge, just west of Lewis Road. This area was the site of a fatal traffic accident about 2.5 years ago. I'm concerned that more accidents will occur if something isn't done to address the slowdown lanes. Eureka's population continues to grow and more people are exiting at Exit 264 all the time, adding to the possibility that a major accident will happen sooner, rather than later.
Tim Frazee December 20, 2012 at 04:44 PM
When will Howdershell in Hazelwood be completely resurfaced? Between 270 to Jynn Haven to it's gota be the worst road out there. Lynn Haven and north was resurfaced summer or spring of 2012, but the worst part of the road has still to be completed. This road is a major artery of the west-side of North County.
Bobby December 20, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I am curious as to why the the I-70 and 370 bridges over the Missouri River into St. Charles are not lighted with street lamps? Adverse conditions (fog,etc), heavy traffic, are common and yet there is no lighting. Is lighting planned for the new westbound I-70 bridge?
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Thanks for the details. I will pass this along to our engineer for that area. I have not heard of any new projects in that location.Maybe there is something that can be done with the signal timing to move the exiting traffic off faster. I will see what they can do.
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Unfortunately, I am signing off. I will check back in tonight after my meetings to see if I can answer a few more. I believe Patch is going to schedule me once a month to answer MoDOT questions. Happy Holidays and safe travels!
Lynn December 20, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I am so curious as to what the outcome of the intersection of Wild Horse Creek and Long road will look like. Is there a rendering that you could share and also, when will this project be completed?
Patrick Crowley December 20, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Since bicycle riders are suppose to be treated like vehicles then why are they not ticketed for Careless and reckless by speed (doing more than 15 mph under the posted speed limit)? Bicycles should not be allowed on roads that do not have shoulders and have a continuous "No Passing Zone."
Bill Moritz December 20, 2012 at 09:19 PM
I just saw this so please excuse me for being late. 1) I have been asking for Jeffco Blvd between Richardson Road and Telegraph to be widened to include a turning lane. We have a lot of semi-trucks coming off I-55 that block one of the southbound travel lanes because they are waiting to turn left. 2) The signalling at right turn lane at Richardson and Jeffco are inconsistent with many other right turns. This one has a dedicated traffic light. State law in MO permits a right on red after a full stop. Why have a sign that reads right turn signal? If right turns are permitted, remove the sign and state law prevails. If it is intended for no right on red then put up that sign.
Jordan Lanham December 20, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Thanks so much to Linda for answering questions today and to all of our readers who contributed to the conversation. The Q&A session ended at 11 a.m. today (Dec. 20), but Linda will be back next month!
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 10:44 PM
I believe Howdershell is taken care of by St Louis County Highways. Sorry I don't have the answer on that one.
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 10:46 PM
In general, we don't provide lighting on the highways. The national highway standard is to light interchanges and specifically ramps. These are lit because they are decision points. Your vehicle headlights are designed to light the roadway in front of you. One exception you may think of is the westbound I-64 Boone Bridge. The federal highway administration required us to light it 10+ years ago when we restriped it to three 10-foot lanes. Since it would be a long term condition, it is lit for safety reasons. When we build a new bridge there and take down the old westbound bridge, the new wider bridge will not have continuous lighting.
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 10:51 PM
I think this is also a St Louis County project. According to the County website, it is supposed to be finished in spring 2013. Here's a link to their information: http://www.stlouisco.com/PropertyandRoads/HighwayPublicationsManuals/RoadwayConceptPlans/KehrsMillLongWildHorseCreekAR863
Linda Wilson Horn December 20, 2012 at 10:55 PM
I logged back in to check for late questions and I found yours. I will have to forward your first question to our engineers for the area to see what they have planned in the future. Our budgets are very tight so I'm not sure where it is in our future planning. Regarding your second question, you are correct that right turns are allowed on red after you stop and it is safe to turn. The exception would be if the signal is signed no right turn on red. Sometimes we have a signal for the right turn lane and it is signed Right Turn Signal because it is off set from the other part of the intersection. Sometimes this right turn signal might get a green light during part of the signal phasing while the straight traffic is still red. It just gives us more flexibility at an intersection with the signal timing. It is a common question I get. Please make a right turn on the red after you stop and it is safe to do so.
Winchell MacNeill December 28, 2012 at 05:01 PM
That's a great idea. And while we're at it, let's ticket trash trucks, highway department vehicles, utility trucks, school buses and any other vehicle that doesn't drive close to the maximum speed. Sorry, Patrick, the only place there is a minimum speed is on interstate highways. Bicycles are legitimate users of the road, and apologies to you on behalf of all cyclists for the extra 15 seconds they may hold you up.


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