Despite a sluggish start caused by weather and resources diverted for high profile projects, Phase 2 of the Page Avenue Extension project will finish on time in late 2009, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) officials said. Work began in 2007.
The project will extend Highway 364 another mile basically following Highway 94 west of Jungs Station Road to west of Harvester Road. Included will be a one-way outer road system, retaining walls and improved interchange. The interchange will have ramps from the freeway to Harvester Road and a bridge taking Harvester Road traffic over Highway 364.
The plan eliminates traffic signals at Harvester giving drivers a clear shot from Interstate 270 to Jungermann Road.
“Basically it’s going to add a mile from where 364 ends just west of Jung Station and continuing to just past Woodstone,” MoDOT spokesperson Andrew Gates said. “It will have one-way outer roads similar to those east of Jung Station Road.
“It’s actually upgrading the road kind of to a freeway so you’ll have an interchange to get on and off at Harvester instead of a traffic signal. Your first traffic signal on the Page extension once you get on to it after it changes from Route D to Highway 364 will be at Jungermann Road. Right now that first one is at Harvester.”
The work is part of Phase 2 which actually goes all the way down to Mid Rivers Mall Drive, Gates said. Phase 3 which does not yet have funding goes from Mid Rivers Mall Drive to Route N.
The project’s main challenge right now is “obviously” weather, Jim Gremaud, MoDOT area engineer for St. Charles County, said. “It’s wintertime so the opportunity to do much work, especially to do the kind of work we need to get done in order to open it to traffic — grading work and placing concrete — is limited. It’s just not great winter work. You don’t get much of an opportunity to do it.”
Traffic around the work hasn’t been much of an obstacle, Gremaud said.
“When you construct a project and you leave the road open, it restricts your ability a bit,” he said. “Obviously you’ve got to do the work in stages so it’s going to take longer.”
The work hasn’t presented many issues for motorists, he said.
“It hasn’t been a great inconvenience to the public because we still have the same number of lanes open on Highway 94,” Gremaud said. “Since we’ve expanded the footprint so much, most of the work we’re doing is not really interfering with traffic flow. That’s one good thing about this project.”
The next goal will be to get Highway 94 traffic onto the new pavement, which will be the future outer roads, Gremaud said. “Once we get Highway 94 traffic onto this new pavement then we can build the next mile of Route 364,” he said. “It’ll probably be spring before we get traffic on these outer roads.”
The original hope was to have traffic on the new outer roads by now, he said.
“We were actually hoping to get this done this fall but a combination of weather and the reality is there are other more significant projects in the area that pulled some of our resources that were available to work on this project,” he said.
Two of those “more significant projects” were the reconstruction of 10 mi. (16 km) of I-64/Highway 40, St. Louis’ main east-west artery, and the extension of Route 21 in Jefferson County.
The Jefferson County project had “timelines where a lot of work needed to be done by the end of 2008 because the contract time frames included big penalties,” Gremaud said.
Highway 364 is needed because the road provides another roadway for motorists to get between St. Louis and St. Charles Counties, he said. “You’ve got the major river there. We’ve got a bridge at 70, Highway 40 and 370 but there was a need for another bridge to adequately handle existing and future traffic volumes between the counties.”
St. Charles “grew tremendously in the 1980s and 1990s,” and another route to St. Louis was needed to alleviate congestion and traffic delays, he said.
The project’s other challenges include encountering rock not shown on the plans during installation of concrete precast double box culvert system and utility conflicts, Gates said. To help expedite utility relocation, the contractor is coordinating construction operations, he said.
The current work is technically the “first” Phase 2 project on Highway 364, Gremaud said. “We opened Page Avenue to traffic in December of 2003. That was Phase 1 of Page Avenue.
“The reality is that as part of that we had to actually do what some call the first Phase 2 project to adequately tie Route 364 into existing Highway 94. That was all open to traffic in December 2003 and the truth is we pretty much didn’t do anything in 2004, 2005 and 2006. We kind of got started a bit in 2007 with this project that’s underway now and really got moving in 2008.”
The cost of the project is $19.7 million. Fred Weber is the general contractor.
No subcontractors are currently active on the project, Gates said. Approved subcontractors include ATK Safety Supply Inc. for traffic control items, D&S Fencing for fencing and highway signing, Precision Construction Services for saw cut joints in concrete pavement, George Lanxon Piling Sales to provide steel “H” pile, Rodens Landscaping for seeding, TraMar Contracting to set temporary concrete traffic barrier and pavement dowel baskets, DLH Trucking LLC for dump trucks, tandems and side dumps, Gerstner Electric for signals and lighting, Roadsafe Traffic for pavement marking/striping, Subsurface Constructors for stone columns for bridges, Custom Coatings for bridge painting, concrete masonry and graffiti protection systems and Semke Grading for grading.
Major equipment used for excavation, grading, concrete paving, and storm sewer installation so far on the project includes John Deere 700H dozer, 750J dozer, 710D and 710G backhoes; Komatsu PC300LC, PC400LC, and PC600LC trackhoes and Caterpillar 12H motorgrader, 277B and 287C skid steers,
Blaw Knox asphalt pavers are being used to lay the asphalt along with various Hypac and Ingersoll Rand rollers.
Gomaco trimmers and pavers and Wirtgen 2200 rotomilling machines also are being used.
To date, 529,162 cu. yds. (404,570 cu m) of material have been excavated, hauled off or stockpiled, Gates said.
Plans are to create 34 cu. yds. (26 cu m) of 8-in. (20 cm) pavement, 16,102 cu. yds. (12,310 cu m) of 9-in. (23 cm) pavement and 15,168 cu. yds. (11,590 cu m) of 10-in. (25.4 cm) pavement, he said.
Only day shifts have been used so far for work on the project, Gates said. The number of workers has varied, averaging approximately 12 people a shift, he added.
Grimaud is confident the project will finish on time in the fall of 2009 despite the delays early on. “I expect it will be on schedule,” he said.
There will be more work on Route 364 with another mile or so programmed to be started sometime in 2010, Gates said. That work, a cost share with St. Peters and St. Charles County, will go from Woodstone to Woodstream, he said.
The cost is estimated at “$20 million-ish maybe a little bit more,” Gates said.
“Right now we currently have it programmed to let in 2010. It’s hard to say how long the project will take but it probably will be two years, he said. “Until we get to the point where we’ve got final design done and we’ve got it let, it’s really hard to say what will be the end result,” he added.
MoDOT is doing final designs on Phase 3 but has purchased only 50 percent of the right-of-way it needs. No other funding has been allocated for the project, and no construction date has been set.