MoDOT officials say they are still collecting input from the public on the project ST CHARLES, Mo. — MoDOT is planning a
MoDOT officials say they are still collecting input from the public on the project
ST CHARLES, Mo. — MoDOT is planning a renovation of a stretch of Interstate 70 in St. Charles County that may also affect outer roads along the highway. And some area business owners are opposing the plan.
The $62 million project would impact I-70 from Fairgrounds Road, in St. Charles, to Cave Springs Road, in St. Peters. MoDOT officials said that stretch of I-70 is one of the busiest in the state. It’s also one of the oldest.
But some business owners along this stretch are objecting to the notion of one-way outer roads. They have established a website nowayoneway.com to communicate their concerns.
MoDOT officials said this stretch of highway was most recently updated 40 years ago, and no longer meets today’s needs.
“In the past five years we’ve seen about 3,000 crashes,” said Tom Blair, a MoDOT St. Louis District engineer. “That’s about 40% higher than comparable interstates.”
Blair said one possible redesign could involve converting outer roads, which service businesses along the interstate, to one way.
“We’re not as advanced as some states, like Texas. Texas is a leader in one-way outer roadways, and they have them throughout a lot of their urban areas.”
But several area business owners are saying, “One way? No way.”
Dan Grosvenor owns 5 Star Autoplaza along what is currently a two-way north outer road.
“The car dealers in this whole area – St. Peters, St. Charles – it’s like a car dealer mall,” he said. “Part of having highway frontage is the ability to drive either east or west, see the business, say ‘Hey, let’s stop on in,’ and make it very easy.”
5 On Your Side asked Blair if there is an area interstate where these one-way outer roads are already in place and working. He suggested I-44, west of 270 in Fenton, by the old Chevy plant.
John Konersmann owns St. Louis Powersports, which is located along the eastbound outer road on the south side of I-44.
“Some customers that have never been here before, it can be tricky for them,” said Konersmann. “We’ve seen a lot of them that have driven past us and they pull into the parking lot next to us. After a customer has been here once and they know where we are, so we don’t really hear that complaint again.”
Blair said the redesign plan for the oldest stretch of interstate in the nation is by no means set in concrete.
“So that’s why we’ve paused right now,” said Blair. “We’re really talking a lot, so we really get those concerns. I’m pretty confident we’re going to be able to address those concerns in the documents we put out there for our contracted teams to compete on.
Blair says St. Charles County is pitching in $10 million of the $62-million project. Construction is scheduled to begin either late this year or in early 2022.