(KMOV) – It took more than two years and half a billion dollars to build the new Interstate 64. But John Wilhelm is one driver who is not convinced that taxpayers have received a return on their investment.
He says every night at 5:15, he sits in the same traffic jam heading westbound that he sat in three years ago.
If you drive during rush hour on the new I-64, you’ve certainly noticed where the back-ups are the worst. The bottleneck seems to be between Hampton and Hanley.
“It's all supposed to be better, and improved, and it's not,” says Wilhelm.
Wilhelm says he is frustrated. He drives home each day on westbound I-64 and finds the same backup, starting at the Hampton Blvd. exit.
“On average, I would say it takes an extra 10 - 15 minutes over what it would be like at a non-peak hour,” he says.
The congestion often lasts all the way past Hanley Road.
“There’s no doubt right at Hampton there’s a slowdown,” said Ed Hassinger, engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation. “But it’s a very short one.”
Hassinger says the problem is we all have short memories. The slowdown at Hampton is about 15 minutes at rush hour, but he says it used to be 40 minutes.
“That snag started from Kingshighway, and went all the way out to Spoede,” he says.
Improved off ramps and exit lanes have helped. Additionally, I-64 carries 30,000 more cars each day than before. But Hassinger says no amount of money would make it perfect. “In fact, it's just not a good use of funds to build an interstate that works for the worst 15 minutes of time, once a day,” he says.
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