Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Intersection Ahead of St. Louis Premium Outlets and Taubman Prestige Outlets Opening

Chesterfield's Director of Planning and Public Works Michael Geisel described the current intersection of Olive Road and Chesterfield Airport Road as a dangerous one. 

When Chesterfield’s two outlet malls open this August, the dueling retail centers will draw thousands of shoppers to the area and substantially increase the amount of cars flowing into Chesterfield Valley.
Mitigating delays caused by the added traffic is a major challenge for the city and Chesterfield Director of Planning and Public Works Michael Geisel said drivers can expect to see some substantial infrastructure improvements.
The most work will be done at the west end of the Valley around the St. Louis Premium Outlets site, which is part of the larger Blue Valley mixed-use development and is a 350,000 square-foot-complex with 85 stores. 
Geisel said the intersection of Olive Road and Chesterfield Airport Road will be relocated westwards and an entirely new interchange will be constructed.
This will be accompanied by a substantial widening that will bring Olive up to seven lanes in that spot and add turning lanes to Chesterfield Airport Road as well. The two roads accessing the development will be five and four lanes, respectively.
“They are not just for the outlet mall, but for that whole area as it develops,” Geisel said.
The revamped interchange will sit across from the Comfort Inn. In addition to better accommodating the surge of shoppers, it will also eliminate the old intersection, which Geisel said had “always been dangerous.”
The work at Olive Road alone is expected to cost around $8 million. Of those costs, Geisel said the developer must pay $2.4 million “without question,” while the rest will be covered by a mix of county funds and the revenue from a Transportation Development District sales tax.
At the other end of the Valley, Taubman Prestige Outlets, located on the north side of Highway 64 will require less dramatic improvements. Even though it is bigger at 450,000 square feet and more than 100 stores, access to the development is a little more direct.
Geisel said most the work will include improving the Highway 64 eastbound exit on to Boone’s Crossing and bringing N. Outer 40 Road up to three lanes where it runs next to the outlet mall.
The upgrades were required in order for the projects to receive the city’s approval, Geisel said, and are based off of traffic studies commissioned by the city and reviewed by other local agencies.
“We are not just adding the growth in traffic as a result of development,” he said. “We are looking at all the growth that will occur in the next 20 years.”
Despite the improvements, he cautioned that back-ups, especially around peak times, would be inevitable.
“You can’t build enough capacity to allow the roads to operate without delay,” he said.
Instead, he said the goal is to strike a balance, keep traffic at an “acceptable level” and ensure that the delays aren’t constant. 

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