By Leisa Zigman 5 on Your Side Investigator
ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. (KSDK) - A plan to ease traffic in St. Charles County along a three-mile stretch of Interstate 70 from Cave Springs to Mid Rivers Mall Drive has some car dealers wanting to slam the brakes on the idea.
Everyone seems to agree on one point.
"It's a parking lot everyday at 3:30 p.m.," said James Sinclair, president of Dave Sinclair Lincoln.
To ease that congestion, engineers with the City of St. Peters and St. Charles County want to change the outer roads from two-way streets to one-way streets. So if a customer missed his or her store, they would have to drive down and around and circle back to get where they want to go.
That, according to Sinclair, "is a dumb plan."
"The reason you have car row is to make it convenient for people in the market. You can shop cars all along this three mile stretch but if you make it hard to get back or cross shop, we'll lose the business," he said.
Sinclair is speaking for a dozen car dealers along the outer roads. There are other businesses that NewsChannel 5 spoke to as well, and they too are against the one way plan.
"The number one reason the proposed project is being considered is to ease the congestion in that section of roadway ... The original proposed plan was presented for consideration more than a year ago and since then, we have held many meetings getting ideas and comments from St. Peters residents and businesses. The results of that input are in the new proposed plan presented at last week's public meeting. In fact, the number of 'slip ramps' or exits and entries to the highway, have gone from eight to 17 in the latest revision presented last week," said a City of St. Peters spokesperson.
According to the spokesperson, the majority of those responding to a city survey are for the proposal.
NewsChannel 5 did our own unscientific sampling of drivers who use the outer roads. Not one person knew about the plan and when we explained it, they didn't like it.
"I don't like it at all and I think it's a waste of money. If you want to improve something, do something else," said Helen Zahner.
"For it to be just open one way it would take me way out of the way, so I might not go to the mall as much or come out here as much, it would just be a hassle," said Martha Klein.
Sinclair believes the city and county are moving forward with the plan because of more than $7 million in federal money is at stake.
"They've got to use it or lose it. My argument is use it for a good plan, not a dumb plan," said Sinclair.
If you drive this strip of I-70, and you want your voice heard, click here to fill out the St. Peter's survey. You have until October 23 to weigh in. A vote on whether to scrap the project or move forward could come as early as October 24.
The City of St. Peters has a Frequently Asked Questions page on its website, and has a link for public involvement.