October 27, 2017
Contact: Mary Enger, Communications Director, 636-949-1856, or 636-443-1008, firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Charles County, Missouri – The East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWGCOG) this week voted in favor of moving forward with a project that would eliminate problematic flooding on a stretch of Highway 67 in North St. Charles County, and add traffic signals to a dangerous intersection in West Alton.
“For many years, the West Alton area has struggled with flooding on Highway 67, which causes safety and traffic concerns,” says St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, who serves on the board of EWGCOG. “I am pleased that the board voted to add this project, including addressing the dangerous intersection, to the Transportation Improvement Project schedule for 2018-2021.”
The $3.2 million project will raise southbound lanes of Highway 67 from the Mississippi River to north of Machens Club Drive in West Alton. This area is prone to flooding in the spring, according to Consolidated North County Levee District President Kevin Machens, making it impossible to use the highway to get from one end of the district to the other.
“Keeping Highway 67 open is huge for us,” Machens says. “It takes weeks for the water to go down and traffic is greatly affected.” Machens says flooding has been more frequent in recent years, and estimates the highway has been flooded approximately eight times in the past 10 years.
The Mayor of West Alton agrees that this project is important for a number of reasons, but notes that safety is key. “Safety is a big concern,” says Mayor Willie Richter. “Traffic is going head-to-head when the highway is closed, and it is not safe. Drivers have to take Wood River to I-270, which takes about an hour and a half with the drive and traffic. School buses have to take I-270 as well, and the flooding affects traffic to and from Ameren.” Ameren’s Sioux Energy Center is located on Highway 94 in West Alton.
Included in the cost of the project are traffic signals at the intersection of Riverlands Way and Highway 67. Rivers Pointe Fire Protection District Fire Chief Rick Pender, who often is called to accidents at the intersection, is relieved that this issue is being addressed.
“This is very much an accident-prone crossing,” Pender says. “There is a three-way stop, with a crossover on Highway 67, to get to a gas station. There are accidents constantly and they can be avoided with the addition of lights.”
This project is being funded by federal (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) and Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) dollars. Federal funds total approximately $2.8 million and MoDOT is contributing more than $425,000.The project will be put out to bid in 2020.
These improvements are in addition to the $48 million the EWGCG board recently approved for St. Charles County transportation projects over the next three years. Those key projects include improvements to Route 61 at Route P and Peine Road, Route W from I-70 to Highway 61, and Route N at Route Z, as well as a new interchange at Missouri Route 364 and Gutermuth Road.
For a complete list of projects in the East-West Gateway Council of Governments 2017-2020 Transportation Improvement Program report can be viewed online at www.ewgateway.org.