Petition hopes to bring change to a dangerous stretch of I-70 in - KMOV.com

Petition hopes to bring change to a dangerous stretch of I-70 in Wentzville

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A community effort to drive changes to this dangerous stretch of Interstate 70 is underway in Wentzville. Credit: KMOV A community effort to drive changes to this dangerous stretch of Interstate 70 is underway in Wentzville. Credit: KMOV

WENTZVILLE  (KMOV.com) – A community effort to drive changes to a dangerous stretch of Interstate 70 is underway in Wentzville.

Diane Humphrey looks out on the stretch of interstate where her son took his last breath.

“I haven’t been this close except driving past since he died,” said Humphrey.

On September 25, 2015, her son Kevin Hase, 26, was driving with his best friend, Jeff Jackson, 27,  when police say they tried to pass a semi-truck. The made contact with the truck and crashed into the median wall. Both died on the scene.

“It’s a bad, bad area here,” said Humphrey about the stretch of interstate between Highway Z and Wentzville Parkway.

That’s why she signed a new petition by Michael Rhoades to fix the S-curve. Rhoades is an alderman in Wentzville but started the petition as a private citizen.

“I’m not talking fender benders, I’m talking rollover accidents, people getting killed,” said Rhoades.

Rhoades says his mission with the petition is to gather support to show MoDOT, St. Charles County and anyone else who can help fix the problem.

“This is one that needs to be brought up on a priority list,” he said.

Tom Blair, the district engineer for MoDOT says they are aware of the concerns. They have studied the section in the past. Last year they made it a “Travel Safe Zone” because it has more fatal or serious crashes than average. That means anyone speeding will receive double the fines.

But Rhoades says the problem is more than just speeding and distracted driving.

“It’s so bad, traffic comes to a stop because it cannot keep up with the congestion,” he explained as we watched cars slam on the brake coming around the curve.

Wentzville is one of the fastest growing cities in the state and Rhoades says they have simply outgrown the interstate.

Blair says the fix would require relocating Interstate 70 and rebuilding the railroad bridge that runs over it. While they don’t have an exact estimate, he says it would cost at least $100 million.

“MoDOT wants to address it but it comes down funding,” explained Blair in a phone interview. He added that right now it is not on the regional funding priority list.

He said there are a lot of projects that need funding including paving projects and fixing bad bridges, and Missouri hasn’t raised transportation taxes such as the gas tax, in 25 years.

But they do have the cost-sharing program which allows counties to help fund projects alongside MoDOT, and St. Charles County is one of their best partners.

Rhoades says he’s hopeful by coming together and bringing everyone to the table, something can be done.

“I think that’s how people get things fixed is by having that open line of communication and transparency,” said Rhoades.  
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