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O’Fallon Council approves citywide traffic study to address volume, ‘hot spots’

At its July 26 meeting, the O’Fallon City Council discussed and approved a resolution that would create an agreement between the city and Lochmueller Group, a St. Peters-based engineering consultant company, to perform a citywide traffic study.

The resolution comes on the heels of the recently approved I-70 Roads Improvements Project, currently underway in O’Fallon, and the council’s July 12 approval of enhanced traffic-calming measures.

The contracted amount for the traffic study is $124,993. It came before the council with recommended approval from the city’s public works department. According to legislation presented at the July 26 meeting, the city originally budgeted $125,000, in 2017 for the traffic survey. A mid-year budget request is being processed to roll that funding into the 2018 budget.

Lochmueller Group will conduct a full investigation of traffic in the city to include observations of current traffic operations such as queuing and other possible delays, an examination of popular commercial corridors such as Hwy. K and Mexico Road, a compilation of traffic volume data, a determination of performance measures, identification of peak traffic times for local roadways and more. In addition, the study also proposes to use GIS [Geographic Information System] crash data to map and analyze the city’s five-year crash history and identify 10 “hot-spot” crash locations for further investigation.

The goal of the study is to compile professional recommendations for future road and intersection improvements. One of the key areas of study is future growth patterns, to help city staff in prioritizing funding for future projects. Evidence from the study also could help justify projects in grant applications to the County Road Board and East-West Gateway Council of Governments, potentially increasing the chance for funding outside of the city’s own budget.

The resolution passed 7-1, with Councilmember Jeff Schwentker [Ward 4] voting in opposition. Councilmembers Tom Herweck [Ward 2] and Jeff Kuehn [Ward 4] were absent.

According to Schwentker, his concern stemmed how close the cost of the bid comes to the full budgeted amount, which was already public knowledge.

“My only concern was that this was public information back when we budgeted it in 2017,” Schwentker said. “When we budgeted $125,000 to do a traffic study, which I believe is very well needed, but we budgeted $125,000 and it’s coming in at $124,993. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I don’t like the way that we budgeted this in 2017, and it was public information for the people that were bidding on it, so now I’m a little disappointed because I think a traffic study needs to be done.”

The city anticipated that the study would begin this month and conclude in early 2019.

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