Friday, September 04, 2009

The Gateway Connector project

The Illinois Departmnent of Transportation has plans to build a north-south running highway known as the "Gateway Connector" through the metro east intended to connect communities from Troy through O'Fallon to Columbia.

The project has a price tag of $500,000,000. Its price is very comparable to the $460 million cost of the Highway 64 rebuild from Interstate 270 into the city of St. Louis, but its size is much different, running 41 miles compared to the 11 of the Interstate 64 rebuild.

As one would expecet, the project has both opposition and support, but rather than debate the merits of the plan, what I find interesting is the timelines involved. It seems like the project has been on the drawing boards for at least 10 years and planners estimate it could take another 20 years before the road is ready to drive on.

Opponents cite urban sprawl as the reason to block the project and among the supporters are businesses working in real estate and home building. They say the project will open land for development.

The thing that amazes me is the way we are looking at decade after decade to plan such a project. Why does this take so long? Wouldn't it be better to either commit to move forward or outright kill the project? The slow funding and decision making process is torture for the participants on both sides.

If we have STL Rising readers in the metro east, it would be great to hear your take on the proposed Gateway Connector. Given the extremely long lead time for this project, one gets the sense that the road building industry and highway lobby has some of the longest horizons in American society. Sort of like the 50-year business planning strategies of the Far East.


Anonymous said...

Simple...the Chicago central planners (Czars) for the People's Republic of Illinois don't consider it a priority. These are now some of the same people running our federal government, so get used to it on a national scale.

Anonymous said...

I think its one of those things that would be a "nice to have" but it is not necessary for the people who live there. The roads are generally good. There is plenty of housing of all types, prices, new,old and in between. The south part of the loop already has access to South county for big businesses/stores. The southeast area of the plan is just now starting to build out along 15.

I don't know how it would help the western and northern folks.

But yeah, if St. Louis had a major company move in, Or SAFB got a ton more jobs. They need to have a plan like this on the books to get those people to and from the jobs.

Otherwise: local traffic, populations and jobs are in the decline. it is not NEARLY as important as the new missisippi river bridge which would dramatically improve the 55/64/40/70 arteries, which helps all the area roads.

Anonymous said...

Our pre-civil war home and farm are being held hostage by this project. We are heavily invested in our 260+ acre property which has been in our family for years.

I think this project is simply designed to take acreage by eminent domain and open it up to developers...more strip malls, Quiznos and asphalt. More degredation of the evironment and destruction of our quality of life.

This highway is boty unecessary and undesirable. We should fix what we have already fouled before we destroy more open green space, wildlife habitat, and farmland.