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Interchange Improvement Approved by Board, More Traffic Improvement Also Coming

Aldermen approve massive interchange improvement at I-70 and Mid Rivers Mall Drive.

Traffic was the focal point point of discussion at Thursday's Board of Aldermen meeting.

At the Board's work session, members of the board heard two plans designed to impact and improve road conditions. A recently conducted traffic survey offered ways for the city to make traffic run more efficiently in a short amount of time. Long term, the Board approved plans to rebuild interchanges at Highway 79 and Mid Rivers Mall Drive.

The interchange rebuild mainly focuses on the Mid Rivers Mall Drive. The project would be a complete rebuild of the Mid Rivers Mall Drive overpass to ease traffic. By creating a divergent diamond, drivers would be able to exit Interstate 70 and get onto the overpass before being stopped by a signal. Drivers exiting I-70 would drive on the opposite side of the overpass from what they are used to before switching back to the normal right away at the signal.

Another aspect of the project is a so-called bonus ramp on I-70 east. Drivers would be able to bypass Mid Rivers Mall Drive and exit directly onto Veterans Memorial, a move that Alderman Don Aytes, Ward 4, has said the city has needed for years. The exit will provide a more direct access point to Mid Rivers Mall.

The massive project carries a multi-million dollar price tag, but the city of St. Peters is only on the hook for a small amount. Thursday the Board agreed with a 6-0 vote (Aldermen Dave Thomas, Ward 1, and Jerry Hollingsworth, Ward 2, were away on business) to enter into a cost share agreement to contribute $208,500 to the $12.4 million project. St. Charles County would pay $834,000, the Missouri Department of Transportation would pay $4,376,906 and the federal government would pick up $7 million.

By agreeing to the cost share, St. Peters has gotten the ball rolling for the project. Public Works Services Manager Russ Batzel said the next step is to have St. Charles County agree to pay their share and then have MoDOT agree to their share. After that, plans will be drawn up and the project can go forward. Batzel said the project is still in its infancy, so there is not a tentative timeline for construction to begin.

Batzel said to get the federal funds for the project everything from funding to design needs to be secured by Sept. 30, 2012.

With the project being in its early stages, Batzel said the city hasn’t even begun to plan for alternate routes and shutdown times.

While the interchange project is still months away, the city will soon undergo some small changes. According to a traffic study, the city figured out which roads were the most traveled. The study said that Cave Springs handles 44,700 vehicles a day, followed by Mid Rivers Mall Drive (33,000), Mexico Road (30,000) and Jungermann (21,400).

One way the study found to improve traffic flow in the city is to eliminate late night and early morning flashing at 14 intersections in the city. Instead of forcing drivers to stop or slow down, the signals will run as normal. If there is no traffic, the light will remain green, speeding up flow. 

Another plan the city will implement in the next few weeks is the flashing yellow turn signal. Similar to a green yield, the flashing yellow would give drivers more chances to make a left turn at a light.

The changes will be implemented in June and July. A final report and review will be made in September.

OTHER NOTES

  • A on Mid Rivers Mall Drive and Suemandy. The gas station will now become a Mobil on the Run.
  • The Board passed 16 new ordinances. All passed with a 6-0 vote.
  • The next BOA meeting will be June 23. The Board only meets once in June.

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