Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

State Forced to `Reroute' Plans to Widen Highway 40

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

State Forced to `Reroute' Plans to Widen Highway 40

Article excerpt

Amid neighborhood opposition and new federal air-pollution rules, Missouri highway officials are backing off a bit from their previous push to widen Highway 40 (Interstate 64) inside and west of Forest Park.

The state Highway and Transportation Department now wants to spend $200,000 to study whether traffic congestion could also be reduced through methods less disruptive than paving over park land and tracts occupied by homes and businesses.

Erecting stoplights to regulate entrance-ramp traffic flow and reserving certain lanes for buses and other high-occupancy vehicles are among ideas to be considered. The special lanes presumably would be faster-moving, thus encouraging more people to use car pools to reduce traffic.

Another idea is changeable electronic-message signs alerting Highway 40 motorists to congestion down the road so they could exit early and take other routes.

The department wants similar "alternatives analyses" for two other controversial projects: the extension of Interstate 170 south of Highway 40; and the relocation and widening of Highway 109 between Highway 40 and Interstate 44.

Larry Welty, urban liaison engineer for the state highway department office here, emphasized that the department hasn't ruled out any of the three projects.

He said there remains a need to relieve traffic congestion on Highway 40 and along Highway 109 in far west St. Louis County. Better highway access is also needed between south St. Louis County and the Clayton area.

But unlike the department's usual studies that focus on where and how to construct new lanes or roads, this one also would look at alternatives to new pavement.

City officials in St. Louis and Richmond Heights, along with residents of nearby neighborhoods, have opposed the Highway 40 widening. So have groups that traditionally fight encroachment on Forest Park's green space. …

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