Underneath the new Central School Road overpass, the ribbon was cut early Thursday to symbolically .
Officials from , St. Charles County, the Missouri Department of Transportation and representatives of both the state and federal governments convened to celebrate the opening of the second phase of the Page Avenue Extension. Ed Hassinger, MoDOT St. Louis District Engineer, said the project was opening two months ahead of schedule and one million under budget.
The newly-finished six-mile stretch from Harvester Road to Mid Rivers Mall Drive is slated to open to drivers officially sometime Thursday afternoon. Before drivers took the new Route 364, the officials celebrated the long road that was taken to finish the long road.
A common theme among the speakers was the idea of teamwork. City, county, state and federal groups all came together to extend Page Avenue west. Hassinger said the teamwork is really the only way for projects like this to happen. The second phase was built with $2.25 million coming from the city of St. Peters and $3.7 million from St. Charles County. Other funding from the $101 million project came from $49 million in federal economic stimulus money, $19 million in other federal funds, and about $26 million in state money.
MHTC Commissioner Grace Nichols said that the often maligned federal stimulus was hugely important in getting the project done.
"We are appreciative of it," Nichols said.
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann also praised the teamwork of everyone involved, but took a moment to single out MoDOT. While he didn't have an official proclamation, Ehlmann said he would like today to be MoDOT Appreciation Day.
St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano, flanked by Aldermen Dave Thomas, Judy Bateman, Rocky Reitmeyer and Don Aytes, said the city of St. Peters was proud to partner with everyone involved to get the project done. Pagano said that St. Peters was the only city in Missouri to offer funding for a state project—an investment he said was well worth it.
Looking ahead, Pagano said he was already looking forward to Phase 3—te final phase that will extend Page from Mid Rivers Mall Drive running parallel to Route N to the Route N and I-64 interchange.
"I hope it's done in my lifetime," Pagano joked.
Brendan Fahey was on hand to represent United States Senator Claire McCaskill. Fahey said McCaskill was glad she voted on the stimulus so that the funds could help with projects such as the Route 364 Project.
Jim Mitas, a representative for United State Congressman Todd Akin talked about how the new road will help a lot in growing the area. State Senator Scott Rupp echoed Mitas. Rupp said a strong infrastructure is needed for building a good economy and the new roadway does just that.
State Representative Kathie Conway, who represents the area that contains much of Phase 2, said she was happy to be at the opening. She joked that now maybe she'll stop getting the thousands of emails from eager residents wondering when the roadway was open.
After all the speakers took turns behind the microphone, the ribbon was cut and the road was unofficially open. MoDOT still had some last-minute things to finish up, but said the road would be open later Thursday.