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Cost of interchange improvements draws ire of St. Peters alderman

An agreement dividing up the cost of improving the Route 364 interchange at Mid Rivers Mall Drive has been approved by the two local government bodies who will help pay for it – but not without objections.

The city of St. Peters and the St. Charles County Council each separately approved a cost apportionment agreement for the improvements, which are designed to reduce congestion at the interchange. The $1.5 million project will be paid for by St. Peters, St. Charles County and the Missouri Department of Transportation [MoDOT].

Local officials said the improvements will decrease congestion at the interchange and reduce related safety issues. The project calls for the reconstruction of the existing shoulders of Route 364 to create a third lane in each direction.

Currently, vehicles driving west on Route 364 and approaching the Mid Rivers Mall Drive/Hwy. 94 exit often slow down and back up to Kisker Road. The improvements will provide three lanes through the intersection.

A third eastbound lane also will allow Hwy. 94 traffic to enter Route 364 without merging, which will reduce backups and congestion.

While St. Peters voted 6-0 at their July 27 meeting to support paying their portion of the bill because of those safety concerns, they weren’t happy about it. The board is expected to consider a bill in August that includes the agreement.

Alderman Dave Thomas [Ward 1] said he thought it was “disgusting” that the city would have to provide additional money for interchange improvements, after the city already has provided $2 million or more for the project and other tax revenue. Thomas said he would go along with the agreement for safety issues.

“It’s bull that we have to pay for this,” Thomas said, adding that city residents are paying for road improvements that don’t benefit the city greatly, and calling it “crap.” He also questioned whether other government bodies should be paying more of the share of the local cost.

In all, MoDOT is expected to provide $895,819, or 59.5 percent, of the project cost. St. Charles County will provide $486,454, or 32.3 percent, and St. Peters will provide $121,636, or 8.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the St. Charles County Commission approved the agreement covering their portion of the project by a 7-0 vote at their July 31 meeting.

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