The County Council agreed on Jan. 9 to pay $618,980 to George Butler Associates, Inc. to design a possible interchange on Route 364 at Gutermuth Road. County officials worry about traffic congestion in nearby Cottleville and at the Route 364-Hwy. K interchange in O’Fallon. There are no interchanges along a 3-mile stretch of Route 364 between Mid Rivers Mall Drive, where Route 364 meets Hwy. 94, to Hwy. K in O’Fallon.
Design is one thing, beginning construction work is another. Federal and state funding is needed to build the interchange. For now, the Missouri Department of Transportation lacks funding for its share of major infrastructure projects and to tap into federal matching funds. State and federal funding often provide as much as 90 percent of the cost of a major road project.
John Griefzu, the county’s assistant director of administration – intergovernmental affairs and former transportation director, said the idea is to speed up the process. Griefzu said doing the design work now puts the project closer to breaking ground if more federal or state funding becomes available.
County Executive Steve Ehlmann has said even through sources of funding may be lacking, getting work done on the Gutermuth interchange, particularly a stalled study that looks at transportation alternatives and issues along the Interstate 70 corridor in St. Louis and St. Charles counties, needs to continue.
Efforts to increase more state funding are expected to be discussed during the present Missouri legislative session that began this month. There also has been some discussion of more federal money for infrastructure improvements becoming available after President Donald Trump takes office.
The design work is an outgrowth of the county’s 2015 agreement to pay $259,000 to study a possible extension of Birdie Hills Road that would run west of Cottleville and provide a north-south arterial road, tying it in with the interchange along Gutermuth Road. An extension would bypass downtown Cottleville and alleviate traffic congestion on Hwy. N.
Even if funding becomes available, building an interchange may take several years or more to complete, Greifzu said.