A traffic-clogged Route 364 near Mid Rivers Mall Drive is expected to get some relief this summer with the addition of road lanes and, in the future, a new interchange.
The Missouri Department of Transportation [MoDOT] is expected to start construction this month on lanes to alleviate traffic bottlenecks near Mid Rivers Mall Drive. During the evening rush hour, traffic backs to the east from the Mid Rivers exit along Route 364 – a reality that came with the completion of the Page [Route 364] extension to Mid Rivers and further west past Hwy. K in O’Fallon.
The bottlenecks are a testament to the success of Route 364, which MoDOT officials say has surpassed Interstate 70 as the busiest Missouri River crossing between St. Charles and St. Louis counties during the morning and evening rush hours. The Average Daily Traffic [ADT] count on Route 364 has increased 62.5 percent – to 78,000 vehicles from 48,000 since the completion of the third phase of the route.
“Shortly after the Page Extension opened, we knew there was going to be traffic concerns and immediately started working with MoDOT to plan for more lanes,” said St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann in a news release from the county.
“The traffic counts during the peak hours are three times higher than estimated by the design-build team that constructed [Route] 364,” he added.
The new lanes, which are expected to be open to the public in November, are:
- An additional third lane on Route 364 eastbound from the Route 94 on-ramp onto Route 364.
- An additional continuous fourth lane westbound on Route 364 past the Harvestowne Industrial Drive and existing Central School-Kisker roads merge lane [Exit 9] to the Mid Rivers Drive off-ramp [Exit 8B].
- An additional westbound continuous third lane past the existing Mid Rivers Mall Drive merge lane [8B] to the Route 94 off-ramp [Exit 8A].
Traffic disruption is expected to be minimal as needed lane closures will be done during off-peak traffic from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The county is providing 40 percent of the $1.2 million project cost from its half-cent transportation sales tax first approved by voters in 1985. MoDOT’s share of the project is 50 percent and the city of St. Peters is paying 10 percent.
Meanwhile, another project that may help in easing traffic congestion along Mid Rivers Mall Drive and Hwy. K interchanges on Route 364 continues to progress.
Work continues on developing a new Route 364 interchange at Gutermuth Road in Cottleville. One reason the interchange may reduce traffic is that it provides a new access and exit point in a 4.4-mile stretch between Mid Rivers Mall Drive and Hwy. K.
Craig Tajkowski, county engineer, said right-of-way and easement acquisition may begin later this year and construction may begin in fall of 2019. Completion isn’t expected until sometime later in 2020.
“It’s probably a years’ worth of construction,” he said.
The interchange will provide more direct access to nearby residential areas in Cottleville and surrounding communities. “That’s really where the justification and spending the money for the project come from; it should relieve the congestion Mid Rivers Mall Drive and Route K,” Tajkowski said.
Half the cost of the $9 million interchange is being picked up by St. Charles County. MoDOT is expected to provide $3 million and the Federal Highway Administration is expected to provide $1.5 million.
The local source of funding is from the county’s half-cent transportation sales. In the past, federal and state funds have provided the bulk of the money for major highway and road projects. Previously, the federal and state’s shares often amounted to picking up 90 percent of a project’s cost. However, a lack of state funding has made it difficult for the state to provide the funds needed to obtain matched federal funding.