Traffic Increase on Route 364 Prompts Closer Look at I-70 Corridor

Cars on Highway

Route 364, also known as the Page Extension, recently surpassed Interstate 70 (I-70) to become the busiest Missouri River bridge-crossing between St. Charles County and St. Louis County during morning and afternoon rush hours.

According to data from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), Monday through Friday, approximately 7,900 vehicles per hour use Route 364 during the morning rush and 8,400 vehicles per hour in the afternoon rush.

The higher numbers are the result of the completion of Phase III of the Page Extension in 2014. This phase was accomplished by County and municipal governments working together with MoDOT to provide the funding needed to complete the project, which had been planned for more than 25 years. Travel on Route 364 has steadily increased and continuously surpassed expectations since the opening of Phase III, which extends between Mid Rivers Mall Drive and Interstate 64. Before construction, Phase III was forecasted to carry 2,100 vehicles per hour from just west of Mid Rivers Mall Drive to the river. Shortly after opening, it was carrying more than twice that number.

“Even two years later, I continue to hear on a regular basis how residents appreciate the Page Extension and use it for their daily commutes,” said St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann. “It has been an amazing addition to our transportation infrastructure, especially in connecting the western and eastern parts of the county and alleviating traffic on other thoroughfares.”

Although rush hour traffic volumes have decreased on Interstate 70, it still is the county’s most traveled route on a daily basis and an important road for transcontinental traffic and freight. This is one of the many reasons County Executive Ehlmann wants to make sure the region does not neglect the interstate.

“We have been lobbying MoDOT to restart a comprehensive study of the I-70 corridor that was suspended due to a dismal federal and state revenue forecast for transportation,” says Ehlmann. “Our position has been that we need to be ready to build when federal and state funds become available.”

With this in mind, the County, the City of St. Charles and MoDOT teamed up to fund the interchange improvements along I-70 at South Fifth Street and Fairgrounds Road, which opened last week. This project will reduce congestion at the Fifth Street Interchange and stimulate redevelopment near Fairgrounds Road due to easy access the interstate. Like Phase III of the Page Extension, this project was funded via a partnership and included funds from the County, City of St. Charles, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and MoDOT.

“Our residents understand how important road infrastructure is to the growth and viability of our economy,” says Ehlmann. “Currently, St. Charles County has the third largest economy in Missouri and is one of the top 25 counties for high-tech job growth in the nation. Additionally, our manufacturing sector is booming. It is important for us to continue to plan and invest in the road infrastructure needed to reduce congestion and support a growing economy.

“Moreover, it is important that we take an in-depth look at the corridor to make certain it does not experience the same deterioration we have seen on some previously thriving corridors in the St. Louis region,” Ehlmann continued. “That goal is even more important now, with President-Elect Donald Trump expressing interest in a bi-partisan effort to improve the country’s infrastructure.”