MoDOT reopens lanes in both directions of Interstate 55 - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

MoDOT reopens lanes in both directions of Interstate 55

A photo taken of I-55 at Meramec Bottom Road on Thursday morning A photo taken of I-55 at Meramec Bottom Road on Thursday morning

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – Lanes in both directions of Interstate 55 at the Meramec River have reopened, according to Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) officials.

Two northbound lanes of the interstate were opened Thursday night, and the southbound lanes were reopened Friday morning.

MoDOT and the National Guard worked aggressively throughout Wednesday to keep I-55 open, battling historic water levels with sandbags and pumping systems.

Crews were using a pump to redirect water off the roadway back into the river, attempting to buy time for the sandbagging efforts. 

While crews were working tirelessly to get the water off the interstate, drivers were becoming irritated. Tim Smugala said a drive to and from work used to take him 10 minutes, but had taken him nearly 30 minutes recently. 

Raw video: Traffic back-up goes for miles

“As much as it is this time, you know, we been down here 15 years and never seen it like this. It’s pretty amazing that water go up that bridge.” said Smugala.

Traffic on southbound I-55 was backed up for several miles from late Wednesday afternoon throughout the evening, and the surrounding roadways were gridlocked as well. 

The Missouri Highway Patrol shut down the northbound lanes of the interstate at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and began diverting traffic onto Highway 141. Officers later reduced southbound traffic to a single lane. Thursday morning, MoDOT crews closed both directions of Interstate 55 at the Meramec River, mile marker 193.

According to MoDOT, Route 231 Telegraph Road and Route 61/67 Lemay Ferry are also still open to traffic in both directions across the Meramec River. 

Both directions of Interstate 44 remain closed in St. Louis County due to flooding of the Meramec River at Route 141. Local traffic can get to Bowles Avenue only.

Copyright 2015 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Valley Park mayor confident in levee following evacuations

Updated:

Earlier Wednesday, residents in the lower end of the area were evacuated because of the rising levels of water in the Meramec River. 

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