(KMOV) – Drivers are growing weary with a road construction project on Manchester, just east of Kingshighway. It’s turned an already congested road into one big traffic headache, and some are pointing the finger at a redesigned sidewalk.
The sidewalk is wider than normal, so pedestrians like it, but drivers say it’s a bad idea because the bump-out curb eliminates an entire lane of traffic on westbound Manchester Road.
St. Louis City is using federal stimulus dollars to reconfigure the sidewalk. When the project is complete, traffic will flow in both directions, and one center lane will be designated for left-hand turns.
The wider sidewalk is part of the city’s plan to make the grove more pedestrian friendly, given the number of businesses that are opening up there.
The bump-out curb is permanent fixture, and city leaders say drivers need to get used to it.
“You know, it's a problem,” says Grove resident Ricky Crawford. “[It’s] causing traffic to back up...It was already backing up before they did that.”
On the other hand, St. Louis Streets Director Todd Waelterman says the new sidewalk will make drivers slow down.
“If you have a wide open area, you tend to put the pedal to the medal,” he says. “By doing this [construction]…you have more of tunnel vision, and you slow down.”
The city says the $2 million project will be complete by spring 2011. It will cover about six blocks of Manchester Road.