Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Highway Deaths Turn Focus to Outdated, Narrow Roads

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Highway Deaths Turn Focus to Outdated, Narrow Roads

Article excerpt

The death of Evelyn Roland on Highway 21 in Jefferson County has focused attention on the state's inability to come to grips with its outdated, minimum standard roads, a proponent of highway improvements says.

Regina Hollrah-Kozemczak has been working to get improvements to Highway P in St. Charles County since Nov. 7, 1995. That was the day her neighbor, J.C. Smith, was killed when a car lost control on a curve and killed the 69-year-old man as he mowed grass in his yard near the road.

Hollrah-Kozemczak says in a letter to the editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "It is time to stop laying down new concrete and start tending to the secondary two-lane highways that now serve as thoroughfares for the hundreds of new homes being built every year." After Roland was killed recently, the executive board of the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council put improvements to Highway 21, known as "Blood Alley," on a long-range list of improvements. In August, the board prioritizes the improvements on the long-range list and applies for federal financing. Eighty percent of the cost of highway projects usually comes from the federal government; 20 percent comes from the state. Last week, at a meeting of the Missouri Department of Transportation, the area engineer for St. Charles County and others considered problems with Highway P and began the process to submit Highway P improvements to the scrutiny of East-West Gateway. If the board puts Highway P on the long list before August, it will be eligible for consideration for the short list at the same time as Highway 21. Hollrah-Kozemczak says she is aware that each road project is in competition for a limited amount of money and that this is the crux of her complaint. She wants less emphasis on interstate and other major highways and more on the narrow, winding, dangerous roads that were built long before the traffic outstripped their ability to serve the area. Tom Miller, a spokesman for the state Transportation Department, said in January, before Roland's death, that Highway 21 is a priority for engineers who deal with the area. But Miller said that other projects in St. …

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