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Wildwood approves roundabout, Route 109 widening, bridge enhancements

By: Jessica Meszaros

At its Sept. 10 meeting, the Wildwood City Council passed an ordinance for the execution of a Cost Share Apportionment agreement by and between the city and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for the construction and maintenance of the Route 109 widening and the proposed roundabout improvements.

A map of the four projects that have been planned for the section of Route 109 between Route 100. The Main Street Crossing roundabout is highlighted in pink. [City of Wildwood graphic]

The agenda item was previously delayed following detailed council discussion at the Aug. 13 meeting regarding ongoing conversations with developer Payne Family Homes, the developer of a proposed residential development known as “The Reserve at Wildwood.”

The anticipated cost of the Main Street Crossing roundabout is about $1,850,000, which would be the maximum cost to the city without any additional funding from other resources. However, Wildwood city management has suggested that Payne Family Homes fund about $925,000 of that cost because “The Reserve” would be a traffic-generating development with direct frontage on Route 109. It has been proposed that traffic generation assessment [TGA] funds, collected from other developments in the area, be used to fund the other half of the roundabout’s overall cost.

The Main Street Crossing roundabout will be a part of the Manchester Road Improvement process series, which also includes other previously approved projects like the eastbound Route 100 roundabout at Route 109, modifications to the existing roundabout at the westbound Route 100 ramp and widening of the Route 109 bridge over Route 100 to four lanes.

The goal of the projects is to decrease the growing traffic flow, most recently estimated in the city’s 2018 Town Center Traffic Study, which identified about 15,000 cars currently traversing the corridor and future build-out of the land raising that number to an estimated 24,500 cars.

“We have a comprehensive traffic study for our Town Center that said we have to have these improvements to address the growth of Town Center,” Councilmember Ray Manton [Ward 2] said. “We have over 700 homes either under review, under construction or completed. That’s just in Town Center alone.”

According to Councilmember Niles Stephens [Ward 8], the postponement of the Main Street Crossing roundabout agreements from the Aug. 13 meeting to the Sept. 10 meeting did result in an additional financial commitment from Payne Family Homes in the amount of $92,500 toward roundabout construction, following a public hearing that was held on Sept. 4. “So, they’re only about $800,000 short,” Stephens said.

Ultimately, Stephens ended up voting in favor of the Main Street Crossing roundabout development, but like other councilmembers, expressed ongoing concerns about securing Payne Family Homes’ commitment or at least half of the roundabout’s cost.

“I really encourage the council to do whatever they can to have P&Z have [Payne Family Homes] pay for this,” Councilmember Steve Taylor [Ward 4] said.

For many residents, safety was the primary concern, specifically for residents living in the Cambury Square development located adjacent to the proposed Main Street Crossing roundabout development and north of the Main Street Crossing subdivision.

According to resident John Kelly [Ward 8] the lack of a roundabout would worsen the traffic through narrow residential streets such as Cambury Square, Eatherton Road, Old Manchester Road and more.

“This is a critical build,” Kelly said.

According to Joe Vujnich, director of planning and parks, if “The Reserve at Wildwood” development received a favorable recommendation from the department for the commission’s consideration, it would include an imposed requirement for TGA funds to be paid by the developer, depending on provided parking for each of the proposed dwelling units. Vujnich said that amount could be equal to $500,000 or more.

“Secondly, and we’ve done this since day one because St. Louis County has done it since day one out here, any developer on that site will be responsible for frontage improvements,” Vujnich said. “That means half of whatever those required roadway improvements would be [and] that includes Route 109 and Manchester Road.”

The ordinance passed with a 12-2 vote.

At the end of the meeting, an additional motion was made by Stephens to include funding for half the cost of the so-called Main Street roundabout in the Planning & Zoning Commission’s examination of and discussions concerning any site plans or improvements for the site currently known as the “The Reserve.”

The final vote was a 7-7 tie, which was broken by Mayor Jim Bowlin, who voted in agreement with Stephens’ motion.

At the same meeting, the city council also gave a second reading and approved with a 14-0 vote the execution of a cost-apportionment agreement between the city and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for the maintenance of aesthetic enhancements to the Route 109 bridge, which overlooks Route 100. The issue was previously discussed at the Aug. 27 meeting, following the ordinance’s original postponement in October 2017, and the direct budgetary impact to the city would be an estimated $119,000.

The proposed improvements to Wildwood’s Route 109 bridge [City of Wildwood graphic]

The cost-share component was approved by the council on Sept 10, while the final decisions on enhancements still need to go before the Administration & Public Works Committee.

Brown recommended that the city approve the bridge enhancements at the Sept. 10 meeting and, if changes to the specific aesthetics are requested by the council, they can be added later via change orders following the passage of the principal enhancement agreement.

The council’s primary concern was focused on a statement cited in a memorandum from Brown dated Sept. 5 that said it would be “necessary to clear existing trees, primarily for the westbound direction, to allow Route 100 motorists to see the proposed concrete monolith structures.”

According to Brown, possible aesthetic changes, including monolith placement and the placement of surrounding greenery, can be taken up at upcoming meetings of the public works committee in the future.

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