More than three years after the opening of the last 4.5-mile leg of the Page Avenue extension, the final court fight associated with the project has concluded.
On Dec. 26, a $12.4 million settlement was finalized between the Missouri Department of Transportation and owners of 485.7 acres in the Cottleville area taken by eminent domain for part of the route.
“To my knowledge, this is the end” of legal battles concerning the long-sought road, said Jerome Wallach, attorney for the former landowners — Cottleville Holdings LLC.
Wallach says the firm is owned by members of the family that operates Kolb Grading Co.
MoDOT officials also said they believed that no other cases are pending. The action occurred in St. Charles County Circuit Court.
The stretch, between Highway K in O’Fallon and Mid Rivers Mall Drive in St. Peters, opened in late 2014.
It was the last link in the 20-mile divided highway, known officially as Highway 364, between Interstate 270 in Maryland Heights and Highway 40 (Interstate 64) in Lake Saint Louis.
The project was sought to ease traffic congestion on 40-64 and Interstate 70.
The push by St. Charles County officials for the project — especially the initial phase involving the bridge across the Missouri River that opened in 2003 — sparked major regional political fights over highway spending, suburban sprawl and flood plain development.
There also was a battle with environmentalists over the St. Louis County part of the route through Creve Coeur Lake Park.
The entire route cost more than $500 million to build. That figure didn’t include millions more in land acquisition and other expenses.
Rock Road lane reduction?
A stretch of St. Charles Rock Road could be among the next area streets to get lane reduction treatment, a sometimes controversial move aimed at slowing traffic and improving safety.
The Missouri Department of Transportation wants to cut the number of lanes on the Rock Road east of Normandy Avenue in Greendale.
The stretch, which now has two lanes in each direction, would be trimmed to one lane on each side with a turn lane in the middle.
The street’s name changes to Martin Luther King Drive when it hits Wellston; the lane reduction also would take place along much of the Wellston segment.
Betherny Williams, MoDOT’s North County area engineer, said the idea is to try to get more drivers to obey the speed limit and make things safer for pedestrians. She said the limit varies from 30 to 40 mph in the affected area and that speeding is a big problem there.
She added that there’s less need for four lanes along the stretch because industrial traffic has decreased in recent years.
The idea is part of a general plan to improve St. Charles Rock Road/King Drive between Interstate 170 and the St. Louis County-St. Louis border in 2020 and 2021.
The plan also calls for resurfacing the road, upgrading sidewalks and adding walks where there are none, improving traffic signals and creating mid-block pedestrian crossings.
Drainage also would be improved and dedicated bike lanes would be added through most of the corridor.
MoDOT is seeking public feedback on the plan at an open house-style gathering from 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 1 in the cafeteria at Normandy High School at 6701 St. Charles Rock Road.
The project, with a cost estimate of $16 million, would be followed up later with improvements on the Rock Road farther west, between I-170 and Interstate 270. Details on that plan have yet to be announced.