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Diamond interchange agreed upon for Hwy. 40-61

 

Local officials have again agreed to a conventional diamond interchange to replace the at-grade intersection of Hwy. 40-61 at Hwy. P and Peine Road after county officials heard concerns from Wentzville and other residents that the improvements might be delayed.

The $12.2 million diamond interchange is expected to help address traffic safety issues along Hwy. 61 northwest of Wentzville. The present at-grade Hwy. P intersection includes a turn lane off the busy highway but no off-ramps.

Flint Hill and Wentzville residents have been urging safety improvements on Hwy. 61 for years, particularly at the present intersection with Hwy. P were fatalities have occurred. Over the last four years, MoDOT, Wentzville and St. Charles County have agreed to pool resources to fund improvements.

The County Road Board agreed to provide $3.5 million for a conventional interchange and earlier was supportive of a roundabout interchange supported by the city.  The city has agreed to put up $2.75 million. MoDOT officials recently discussed a third proposal with the city and county officials, which alarmed some city residents.

Former Wentzville Alderman Forrest Gossett and Alderwoman Cheryl Kross (Ward 1) were among speakers coming before the County Council at their March 9 meeting with concerns about further delays in the project. Gossett said in November 2009 he watched a 16-year-old girl killed in a traffic accident at the interchange.

“I got over to her with two or three of us and I put my hand on her shoulder and saw the life go out of her body,” Gossett said during the public comment portion of the meeting.  “I swore we had to do something.”

Gossett and Kross lauded the county and MoDOT’s willingness to work together but Gossett said he heard the project may “have hit a snag” with yet another plan for the interchange.  Another plan may cause further delays along a stretch of highway where at least 15 people have died since 2005, he said.

County officials said they met with MoDOT to discuss the project after the March 9 meeting and agreed to the conventional diamond interchange.

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