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Friday, May 18, 2007

Test-Drive Your Highway 40 Detour

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2007 at 6:42 PM

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When it comes to navigating your way around the looming reconstruction of Highway 40/Interstate 64, Google Maps probably won't offer much help.

So the minds at the Missouri Department of Transportation give us:

Map My Trip.

MoDOT promises its online mapping tool won't steer you to the Broadway exit when it's closed (thanks for nothin', MapQuest). The tool will be programmed to account for all MoDOT work, Highway 40 included, in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

We gave it a whirl this afternoon.

Our first test resulted in the kind of ridiculous suggestion that we’ve all encountered on MapQuest and its ilk. To reach Webster Groves from the RFT offices in University City, Map My Trip suggested driving south on Skinker Boulevard to Highway 40, take 40 east to Hampton Avenue, go south to Interstate 44 and exit at Elm Avenue (Exit 280) in Webster Groves.

That route is two miles longer and about ten times more likely to induce road rage than the one suggested by Google Maps. Google Maps was the only one of the major Internet mapping tools to suggest taking Big Bend. (To be fair, MapQuest suggests the same route as Map My Trip, which is based on Yahoo! Maps.) And none of the services suggest Big Bend to Forest Park Parkway to I-170 to Brentwood Boulevard/Kirkham Road.

Map My Trip would have come in handy for that ill-fated trip to Soulard, though. Exit 40B/Broadway will be closed until May 23, so Map My Trip suggests Exit 38C to Jefferson Avenue, south to Russell Boulevard and east to Gravois.

-Kathleen McLaughlin

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