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St. Charles County Seeks Solutions for Congestion at Zumbehl, Cave Springs

City Council members say one-way outer roads aren't worth studying.

St. Charles City Council members on Tuesday said they are not interested in paying for a study to look at whether one-way outer roads between Zumbehl Road and Mid Rivers Mall Drive would reduce traffic congestion on Interstate 70.

St. Charles City has contracted with Crawford, Bunte and Brammeier to study a range of ways to improve the Zumbehl and Cave Springs interchanges. The study is being largely paid for by the St. Charles County Road Board, which awards funding for road projects with revenue raised by the ½ cent transportation sales tax.

St. Charles County Road Board hoped expand the study to look at the one-way frontage or outer roads, at a cost of $40,000. The St. Charles City Council was asked to approve the city's portion of the cost, $4,000, or 10 percent.

Several city council members on Tuesday said they aren't interested in having one-way frontage or outer roads studied at all. 

"I have questions, I have concerns," said Council president Michael Klinghammer, Ward-8. "I don't know if this is a good use of $40,000."

Councilman Bob Kneemiller, Ward 4, said he doesn't think one-way outer roads are appropriate in St. Charles. He said the one-way outer roads in St. Louis County on Interstate 40/61 are a pain to deal with.

Councilman Mike Weller, Ward-5, said the one-way outer roads could have a negative impact on the businesses who are right off of the outer roads in St. Charles -- Veteran's Memorial Parkway and West Clay.

He also expressed concerns that even if the issue is just studied people may think it's a done deal. 

Shawn Leight, vice president of CBB, gave a short presentation on some aspects of the study during the streets committee meeting Tuesday.

He said the goal is to look at the entire Interstate 70 system between the Blanchette Bridge to Mid Rivers Mall Drive and develop a vision for the corridor. 

CBB studied the Mid Rivers Mall interchange and recommended installing a divergent diamond intersection. The city of St. Peters found both state and federal funding for the $12.4 million project.

Divergent diamond intersections are one solution that CBB is exploring to help handle the back up of traffic at Zumbehl and Cave Springs interchanges. The large number of signals currently at the intersections are a part of the problem.

"In both cases we have five traffic signals basically right on top of each other," he said.

Leight said the study looks at both long-term solutions which can cost several million dollars and short-term, less expensive fixes to congestion. He said one-way outer roads are one way to move traffic efficiently.

Debra Alysworth, director of public works, said she has asked someone from CBB to talk to city council members further about the study during the August street committee meeting.

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