In an interview with Mid Rivers Newsmagazine on April 11, O’Fallon Communications Director Tom Drabelle clarified progress and plans for the major I-70 Traffic Flow Improvements Project.
The project’s overall objective is to improve traffic flow to, from and along Interstate 70 from T.R. Hughes Boulevard west to the Woodlawn Avenue overpass and includes the Hwy. K/Main Street interchange. It will be funded by federal transportation dollars, the Missouri Department of Transportation [MoDOT], the St. Charles County Road Board and the city of O’Fallon.
The first major phase for improvements is along I-70 from T.R. Hughes to Hwy. K/Main Street. [Hwy. K north of I-70 becomes Main Street.] When that is completed, the second major phase will begin along I-70 from Hwy. K/Main Street to Woodlawn Avenue.
“Several years ago, the stretch from Woodlawn Avenue to Bryan Road was proposed as part of a St. Charles County overall plan for I-70 from the Missouri River to Lake Saint Louis,” Drabelle said. “After that overall county plan died, the city, along with MoDOT, decided to bring part of the plan to O’Fallon. We looked at the stretch from Woodlawn to Bryan and decided it would not benefit the city, so it never became part of this project. We only have the two phases.”
Phase one includes establishing one-way outer roads between T.R Hughes Boulevard and Hwy. K/Main Street. The enhanced north outer road, known as East Terra now is completed. The newly constructed south outer road between Hwy. K/Main Street and T.R. Hughes Boulevard is scheduled to open by Sunday, April 21. It will be named Drennen Parkway after an esteemed O’Fallon judge. When opened, the south outer road will be one-way eastbound, and the north outer road will be one-way westbound. New signage already has been placed for I-70 exit and entrance ramps to and from the outer roads, moving traffic farther away from the Hwy. K/Main Street interchange. The change will help reduce the number of stops and starts along the roadway; however, drivers will need to pay attention to the signage indicating where new ramps are located.
Phase one’s next step begins in early May and continues through the end of 2019. Major construction and improvements will made to the Hwy. K/Main Street interchange, including adding more lanes to Hwy. K under the bridge and new “Texas U-Turn” lanes to enable movement from and to the one-way outer roads [one to another], without needing to get on Hwy. K or I-70.
“This major construction and enhancement definitely will create traffic problems over the next couple of months, but there really is not any other way to improve that interchange,” Drabelle said. “When completed later this year, the greatly improved traffic flow will be worth it.”
Phase two in 2020 will extend the north and south one-way outer roads to the Woodlawn Avenue overpass, and also will include “Texas U-Turn” lanes. The south outer road between Woodlawn Avenue and Hwy. K/Main Street does not exist today and must be built as part of phase two.
Drabelle said there have been numerous, continuous discussions and public meetings with residents and businesses all along and near this construction. Detailed information, including maps, descriptions and a three-minute video can be found at ofallon.mo.us/i-70-improvements-project.