Wentzville public safety forum on Highway 61 improvements

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WENTZVILLE, MO (KPLR) - It’s a stretch of highway in northern St. Charles County known for accidents. In some cases, those crashes have been fatal. Residents had a chance Thursday night to meet with officials in charge of making improvements on Highway 61. A public forum showcased the plans.

The area in question includes the intersection of Highways 61 and P. Drivers trying to cross Highway 61 are often waiting for several minutes. In some cases, they misjudge how much time they have before safely crossing the highway.

“You just think there’s a little shot I might be able to make it across, but it’s really dangerous,” said Wentzville resident Mary Tow.

She and a thousand others signed a petition seeking improvements. Tow said the death of a church member killed in a crash sparked the petition.

Safety improvements include a new overpass, allowing vehicles to travel over Highway 61.

“You won’t have to take a risk your life to get across the highway,” said Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione.

MoDOT, St. Charles County, and the City of Wentzville are partnering on the project. The cost of the improvements is $12.59 million.

"If there’s something the public really doesn’t like about the plans, this is their opportunity to express that to MoDOT,” said MoDOT district engineer Jim Wright.

In addition to a new overpass, plans call for extending lanes for traffic to merge. Vehicles in that area will no longer be allowed to cross Highway 61 to make a left turn.

Construction on the improvements is scheduled to begin the summer of 2017. The project is expected to be completed the summer of 2018.