East-West Gateway’s Transportation Improvement Plan for 2020-2023 has exited its public comments period, finishing the last of the open house meetings for the improvements laid out in the plan on July 30. A number of proposed MoDOT, Wentzville and Lake Saint Louis road improvements that will impact the western St. Charles County area are included in the plan.
The document is a short-range, four-year schedule for projects receiving federal funds, containing 719 projects costing $2.4 billion for the entire East-West Gateway region, which spans parts Illinois and Missouri.
In Wentzville, a few of the main projects are focused on helping reduce congestion on local roads.
Douglas Lee, assistant director of Public Works, said the first is a right turn lane on Highway Z, headed north to Interstate Drive. This is a smaller project, Lee said, but the city gets a lot of resident concerns about traffic volume on Highway Z, and is trying to address those. This is an attempt to give people an alternate to Interstate Drive so that they can access Highway 64.
Another will be a safety improvement project on Peine Road involving resurfacing shoulders and addressing some of the 90-degree turns on the roadway. The project area extends from North of Splash Station to the Peine/Highway 61 interchange.
West Pierce Boulevard is also getting some love, with a similar resurfacing/safety/shoulder project, and adding some anti-glare fencing between the outer road and Interstate 70.
“That goes along with just a future relinquishment of that roadway to the city from MoDOT,” Lee said.
“The road projects we have now [in the TIP] are really just hinging on maintenance as well as some safety improvements to roadways, adding shoulders and addressing some 90-degree curves on roads that just weren’t constructed or designed for the current traffic volumes and residential growth,” Lee added.
With Wentzville’s population jumping from around 13,000 15 years ago to the currently estimated 40,000-plus residents, a challenge for the city has been keeping its roads up to date and able to handle the constantly-increasing traffic volume.
“That’s a lot of the challenge, is replacing the existing roadways and making sure that you keep up maintenance on those for existing residents, and then its also identifying future projects that add to or expand the system to account for basically capacity and safety across the community,” Lee said.
MoDOT has some projects in the TIP as well, including resurfacing improvements to along I-70 from Lake Saint Louis to Route K, slotted for 2021. There’s also a smaller-scale project in the form of safety improvements planned for the S-Curve in Wentzville where I-70 goes under the railroad.
“That one’s in 2022, we haven’t started design or anything on that yet, so we don’t know exactly what we’ll implement there,” said MoDOT Project Manager Chris Kelly. “Probably improvements to signing, maybe some other safety enhancements. It’s an area of concern. We’ve got a long-term job scoping bigger improvements there, but nothing is funded at this time.”
Another I-70 resurfacing is planned from the Warren County line to Wentzville Parkway for 2022, and resurfacing the South Outer Road from Wentzville to Route T in Foristell slated for next year.
Also impacting traffic exiting the county, there will be bridge rehabilitation work and striping on Missouri-364 by the Missouri River and Jungs Station.
“Right now, we’re finalizing plans and getting the 2020 jobs ready to go out for bid, we’re working on those right now,” Kelly said.
Lastly, Lake Saint Louis Project Manager Terry Rigdon said the Lake Saint Louis Boulevard Phase Three is in the TIP. It’s a resurfacing project, roughly a mile long, and fairly straightforward.
“It’s pretty much just an overlay, we’re going to mill out six inches of pavement and put a geofabric down, help stabilize the bottom of it, and then resurface it,” Rigdon said. “And then along with that, we’ve got an area around Rue De Paix…the sight distance isn’t real great, so we’re going to try to do a little vertical curve correction there.”
Now that the comment period is over, staff will gather and summarize all of the feedback received by the public. Then the projects in the TIP and related comments will go before the East-West Gateway Board of Directors, which is made up of elected officials and others throughout the region. The board will vote on the program at the end of August, then the TIP goes to the Federal Highway Administration for final approval.
“It will become effective Oct. 1 of this year, “ said East-West Gateway Transportation Improvement Program Coordinator Jason Lange. “Assuming everything goes through and passes.”