St. Charles County, Wentzville and Missouri Department of Transportation [MoDOT] officials gathered on Monday, Oct. 15 to commemorate the completion of an important part of a project promised to families who have lost loved ones on U.S. 61 in Wentzville. A new bridge over the highway will eliminate the at-grade intersections of Route P and Peine Road with U.S. 61. This new bridge opened this week.
“We know that as traffic has increased on U.S. 61, there have been terrible accidents and deaths on this stretch,” said County Executive Steve Ehlmann. “But we’re proud of the partnership between St. Charles County, Wentzville and MoDOT, and the fact that we have accomplished this much-needed roadway improvement despite MoDOT’s severe budgetary restraints.”
District 1 County Councilmember Joe Cronin encouraged county and Wentzville officials to find a way to deal with the issues of multiple accidents and fatalities, and in 2012, conversations started regarding safety on that stretch of highway. In August of that year, a section of U.S. 61 was designated as a “travel safe zone.” Speed limits were reduced, fines for speeding were doubled and enforcement by city, county and state agencies was increased. In ongoing efforts to improve the safety of the corridor, cable barriers were constructed along U.S. 61 from the county line to I-70.
“We’re excited to see it come to fruition,” Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione said. “We take a proactive approach to public safety, and while a large project like this takes a long time to complete, we are excited to have partnered with St. Charles County and the Missouri Department of Transportation to make it happen. The safety of our residents and community visitors is paramount and we are thankful to have these new safety enhancements in place.”
County Councilmember Joe Cronin, whose district includes the area where the project is being completed, is happy to see these improvements as well.
“In 2012, it was estimated that more than 47,000 vehicles traveled this section of U.S. 61 per day, and that number is projected to increase to 61,000 by 2040,” Councilman Cronin says. “These improvements will not only save lives but address traffic flow as well as St. Charles County continues to grow with new residents and businesses. On behalf of my district, many thanks to county, city and state officials for pushing to make this project a priority.”
This project is being funded as a cost-share between the County, Wentzville and MoDOT. Work began in 2017; cost is $15 million.