The East-West Gateway Council of Governments Board of Directors approved a $100-million plan Wednesday to complete the Highway 364 (Page Avenue) extension project.
“If approved by the County Council and the Missouri Highway Commission, this agreement would provide funding for the final piece of this transportation puzzle,” said St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, according to a news release.
The funding is for Phase 3 of the highway project, the final nine miles from Mid Rivers Mall Drive to Interstate 64/40 in west St. Charles County.
When completed, the new highway would not only take traffic off Interstate 70, it would help ease the flow of traffic on all of the other roadways in St. Charles County.
Missouri Department of Transportation Engineer Jim Gremaud said the extension would take traffic off I-70 and I-64 in St. Charles County.
“This will bring another freeway right into the heart of O’Fallon,” Gremaud said.
O’Fallon Mayor Bill Hennessy said, “I wish it were done yesterday.”
He said the new highway connection should give a boost to O’Fallon businesses, especially those along Highway K and other arterial roads connected to 364.
“I think it will help alleviate traffic on Highway 40, on I-70, and you’ve got the news I-370 going through Salt Lick Road, which will alleviate traffic on I-70 even more,” Hennessy said.
“I’m ecstatic about the East-West Gateway decision,” he said.
Gremaud said although the plan has been a high priority for St. Charles County, he said it should help with congestion in St. Louis County, too.
“The expectation is that it will improve traffic flow on I-270 and Highway 40 through Town & Country and the Chesterfield Bottoms,” Gremaud said.
“We certainly expect folks to use it if they’re trying to get to west St. Charles County, Dardenne Prairie, O’Fallon or Wentzville,” he said.
Under the proposal approved by East-West Gateway, phase 3 funds would come from St. Charles County, state and federal dollars.
The county’s half-cent transportation sales tax would contribute $25 million. Another $25 million would come from the federal Surface Transportation Program. MoDOT’s innovative financing program would kick in $20 million and another $30 million would come from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
“This is a great example of cooperation between all of the municipalities in St. Charles County and the state,” Ehlmann said. “We came up with some matching funds from our transportation sales tax, and all of the cities had to agree to cut back on what they were asking for from the Road Board so we could get the money for the Page project.”
Ehlmann credited cities for thinking regionally.
“If we had to wait until MoDOT had the entire amount, it might have been another 10 years,” he said.
Construction of phase 1 from I-270 to Heritage Landing included the new Page Avenue bridge across the Missouri River, completed in December 2003.
Construction of phase 2, from Heritage Landing to Mid Rivers Mall Drive, is scheduled to be complete fall 2012.
Under the proposal approved Wednesday, work on Phase 3 could begin late in 2012 or early 2013. Gremaud said it’s feasible work could be completed by late 2014.