>The need to widen 270 to 6 lanes

Posted: 2011/02/09 in congestion

>If you notice in the St. Louis area, much of the 270/255 loop is at least 6 lanes of traffic. The main exception of this is the section from Lilac to 255, which remains at 4 lanes of traffic. The main reason that this section of 270 has not been widened is very simple: the bridges that cross the Chain of Rocks Canal and Mississippi River would need to be replaced and this would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. (IDOT put their budgeted tab of the canal bridge replacement plans at $100M, just to give you an idea of what could cost.)

In the past decade, that area of the Mississippi River has gotten to be environmentally sensitive and many groups such as the Sierra Club have taken notice. Last month, those groups secured a big win when the Missouri Gaming Commission gave the new casino license to Cape Girardeau. This hopefully, will put a end of over 20 years of proposed casino talks in this area.

During the winter months, this area is a frequent target by bird watchers trying to get glimpse of bald eagles. The eagles love this section of the river because the rapids keep the river from icing over during segments of prolonged cold weather. This area is also home to another bird, the peregrine falcon, and there has been stories of those birds making nests on the bridge piers. Both types of birds were endangered at one point or another due to the use of certain pesticides that have since been banned.

During the spring and summer months, the river has a tendency to run at high levels. Given that much of this area is a flood plain, it is common for some sort of flooding to occur during the spring when the snow up in the plains melt and the water goes downstream.

This such dream been around for 20 years or so. The rumor mill is that MoDOT wants to do another study on the 270 North County corridor. IDOT is just more concerned with everything else right now. Historically, IDOT has never given a care about improving 270, and when you drive on 270 in the St. Louis area you will notice a night and day difference on development on both sides of the river. (Take a note of the AADT on both sides of the river as well.) However, IDOT is on the hook if something goes horribly wrong on the COR and the next time that does happen will not be the first time.

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