About the Project
History and Project Background
A plan for an improved connection from south St. Louis County to Central St. Louis County has existed since the late 1950s. The original concept was for a freeway “inner belt expressway” to provide better north-south access through the St. Louis suburbs. This freeway concept became Interstate 170 north of Interstate 64/U.S. Route 40. Originally, Interstate 170 was supposed to continue south into the southern part of St. Louis County to provide improved access between Interstates 44, 64 and 55. After much deliberation, area leaders decided in the 1990s not to pursue a southward extension of Interstate 170 due to significant local opposition. Although this option was abandoned, St. Louis County, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), and other local agencies continued planning efforts to identify potential options for north-south access improvements in south St. Louis County. Further information about the various planning studies that were conducted over the past several years can be viewed by clicking the following links:
- Cross County Major Transportation Investment Analysis (MTIA)
- St. Louis County Arterial Study – South Study Area
- I-44 at Shrewsbury Planning Study
- Hanley Road Corridor Study
The recommendations from these previous studies will be taken into consideration as a part of the EIS process.
The Cross County Major Transportation Investment Analysis (MTIA), completed by East-West Gateway Coordinating Council, the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for St. Louis, in partnership with MoDOT and Metro in 1997, resulted in a range of proposed highway and transit improvements in central St. Louis County and City. The conclusion from the MTIA was that existing arterial roadways, including Brentwood Boulevard, Big Bend Boulevard and Hanley Road/Laclede Station Road must continue to serve as the de-facto Interstate 170 south of Interstate 64/U.S. 40, providing regional north-south mobility for a large portion of central St. Louis County. Another recommendation of the MTIA was expansion of the MetroLink system. The MetroLink extension to Clayton and southward to Shrewsbury in St. Louis County has since been completed, reducing some of the highway congestion in the crowded central corridor.
The St. Louis County Arterial Study – South Study Area was conducted in the early 2000s for the St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic to identify short-term and long-term recommendations for improving access. This study encompassed a large study area of about 33 square miles that included in whole, or part, a total of 21 communities. The first report of the study, Existing and Future Conditions, identified trends in the study area including land use, demographics, traffic, and environmental considerations. A Needs Analysis was then prepared using the results of that report to determine the arterial system needs for the study area with regard to system capacity, signal coordination, and access management. The final report, Capital Improvement Plan, identified alternative mitigation strategies including intersection and arterial signalization and synchronization, minor and major geometric and capacity improvements, and alternative routing and roadway realignments.
The I-44 at Shrewsbury Planning Study, a feasibility study that was completed in 2004, examined alternatives to improve access to I-44 and to improve local circulation. The recommended alternative for I-44 at Shrewsbury has been included on East-West Gateway’s Legacy 2030 Long Range Plan. This project, however, is currently unfunded.
To further address some of the growing needs in this region, the County and MoDOT also completed the Hanley Road Corridor Study in 2004. Phase I of the planned improvements– a reconfigured intersection between Hanley Road and Manchester Road and widening from four to six travel lanes from Flora Avenue to approximately Litzsinger Road – are currently nearing design completion. The northern terminus of the proposed South County Connector project is anticipated to connect with the proposed improvements along Hanley Road.