St. Charles County, Wentzville and MoDOT partner to finish a new $15 million bridge, improving a dangerous stretch of U.S. 61

By Brett Auten

With safety at the forefront and backed by a proud partnership between multiple entities, the U.S. 61 bridge construction project is complete

The bridge was officially open for business on Oct. 15 as officials from St. Charles County, Wentzville and Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) were on hand to commemorate the completion of what is being called an important part of a project promised to families who have lost loved ones on U.S. 61 in Wentzville.

Officials said the newly constructed bridge over the highway will eliminate the at-grade intersections of Route P and Peine Road with U.S. 61. Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione was one of many pleased to see the construction come to fruition.

“We take a proactive approach to public safety, and while a large project like this takes a long time to complete, we are excited to have partnered with St. Charles County and the Missouri Department of Transportation to make it happen,” Guccione said. “The safety of our residents and community visitors is paramount and we are thankful to have these new safety enhancements in place.”

Joe Cronin, a St. Charles County District 1 Councilman, encouraged local officials to find a way to deal with the issues of multiple accidents and fatalities, and in 2012, conversations started regarding safety on that stretch of highway. In August of that year, a section of U.S. 61 was designated as a “travel safe zone.” Speed limits were reduced, fines for speeding were doubled and enforcement by city, county and state agencies was increased. In ongoing efforts to improve safety of the corridor, cable barriers were constructed along U.S. 61 from the county line to I-70.

Cronin, whose district includes the area where the project is being completed, is happy to see these improvements as well.

“In 2012, it was estimated that more than 47,000 vehicles traveled this section of U.S. 61 per day, and that number is projected to increase to 61,000 by 2040,” Cronin said. “These improvements will not only save lives, but address traffic flow as well as St. Charles County continues to grow with new residents and businesses. On behalf of my district, many thanks to county, city and state officials for pushing to make this project a priority.”

The project was funded as a cost-share between the county, Wentzville and MoDOT. Work began in 2017; cost is $15 million.

“We know that as traffic has increased on U.S. 61, there have been terrible accidents and deaths on this stretch,” St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann said. “But we’re proud of the partnership between St. Charles County, Wentzville and MoDOT, and the fact that we have accomplished this much needed roadway improvement despite MoDOT’s severe budgetary restraints.”

For more information about the project, visit the MoDOT website at modot.org/route-61-safety-improvements.

CUTLINE: Photos courtesy St. Charles County The U.S. 61 bridge in Wentzville was officially open for business on Oct. 15 as officials from St. Charles County, Wentzville and Missouri Department of Transportation were on hand to commemorate the completion of what is being called an important part of a project promised to families who have lost loved ones that stretch of road.