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Possible one-way outer roads causes dispute in St. Peters

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ST. PETERS, MO (KTVI)–A plan to convert the outer roads along Interstate 70 in St. Peters from two-way to one-way has some car dealers asking local officials apply the brakes.

The proposal, being driven by St. Peters and St. Charles County with MoDOT serving in an advisory capacity, is to turn the three mile stretch of the north and south outer roads between the Cave Springs Road exit and the Mid Rivers Mall Drive exit from two-way streets to one-way, allowing for more off ramps in between, and fewer stop lights at the Cave Springs interchange.

'I don`t want them to ever do this plan,' said James Sinclair Sr, President of Dave Sinclair Lincoln which sits on the north outer road in St. Peters.  'I haven`t met a business owner on this corridor who wants them to do this plan.'

Many of those other businesses are also car dealers, deliberately clustered along the outer roads to give consumers the ability to comparison shop.

Sinclair fears the one-way plan will be a business killer.

'The reason you have car rows is to make it easy for the shopper to shop. But as soon as you go to the next place you can`t get back, so it is going to make it very difficult for the consumer to cross shop,' he said.

The Transportation Manager for St. Peters, Russell Batzel, says he believes the plan will create far more advantages than problems.

'The distance may be a little longer to get back to (the dealers) but it may be just as fast because we are eliminating traffic signals and providing 45 miles per hour roadways and crossover points to allow those returns to happen,' Batzel said.

St. Peters and St. Charles County came up with the one-way congestion solution about 18 months ago, and and based largely on the dealer's complaints,  presented a revised plan Wednesday night which increases the number of outer road ramps from eight to 17.

'(Adding) this ramp and this ramp and this ramp makes it less bad, it doesn`t make it good,' Sinclair said.
He suggests the real solution is to redesign the Cave Springs Road exit.

Batzel says planners considered that idea but rejected it because the amount of land needed and number of businesses that would have to be moved to allow for a new interchange was not a practical solution, and that history shows a one-way plan can succeed.

'If the 364 extension is any indication, there are those who were concerned about the one-way outer roads that were built in St. Peters on that project and that has worked very well, very efficiently,' Batzel said.

'I think we would find something similar if this project moves forward and gets built,' he said.

Of the 196 who attended Wednesday`s public comment session in St. Peters, the city claims 74 percent of the 70 comment cards submitted called the plan either 'somewhat beneficial' or 'very beneficial.'

The plan goes before the St. Peters Board of Aldermen later in the fall for an up or down vote.  If it is approved, the next round of studies, public comment and design will begin, with construction anticipated in late 2014 or early 2015.

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