The 2-mile long Page-Olive Connector, extends the Maryland Heights Expressway from MO 364 (Page Avenue) to MO 340 (Olive Boulevard) under a design-build contract from the St. Louis County Department of Highways & Traffic and Public Works in St. Louis County, Missouri.
Project Type:Connector Project Mode:Highway Average Annual Daily Traffic:28,243 Length (mi):2.00
Economic Distress:1.30 Population Density (ppl/sq mi):1954 Population Growth Rate (%):-0.14
Employment Growth Rate (%):-0.32 Market Size:1,881,781 Airport Travel Distance:11.6 Topography:14
Region:Great Lakes / Plains State:MO County:St. Louis County
City:Chesterfield & Maryland Heights Urban/Class Level:Metro Local Area:Chesterfield & Maryland Heights
Impact Area:Local Area Transportation System:N/A GIS Lat/Long:38.696120 / -90.502266
Initial Study Date:2009 Post Constr. Study Date:2017
Constr. Start Date:2010 Constr. End Date:2012
Project Year of Expenditure (YOE): 2010 Planned Cost (YOE $):65,000,000
Actual Cost (YOE $):52,500,000 Actual Cost (curr $):55,822,000
NOTE: All pre/post dollar values are in 2013$
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NOTE: All impact dollar values are in 2013$
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The Page-Olive Connector is a newly constructed section of U.S. Route 141 (also known as Highway 141), located west of the St. Louis metropolitan area. This two-mile long connector starts at the interchange of Highway 141 and MO 364 (Page Avenue) and ends at the interchange with MO 340 (Olive Boulevard). The Page-Olive Connector is a six-lane (three lanes in each direction) highway that consists of 60% bridges and 40% ground-level surfaces.
The construction began in the spring of 2010, under a design-build contract from the St. Louis County Department of Highways & Traffic and St. Louis County Department of Public Works. The design-build cost of the project was $55.8 million (in 2013 dollars) and the project was completed in July 2012. The state of Missouri owns and maintains the Page-Olive Connector.
The primary motivation for this new section of the Highway 141 was to improve mobility in the Missouri River Valley area by decreasing traffic congestion on parallel routes, and allowing motorists to drive on an outer beltway around St. Louis (from Interstate 55 in Arnold to St. Charles Rock Road in Bridgeton, Missouri) with fewer traffic signals. To date, no job creation in the area can be attributed to this transportation project. However, the city of Maryland Heights plans to establish more than 2,000 residential units and 450,000 square feet of mixed-use development (office and retail space) close to the Page-Olive Connector to stimulate economic development. The project is currently in the planning/permitting stage; if it comes to fruition, an estimated 522 jobs will be created.
2.1 Location & Transportation Connections
The Page-Olive Connector is part of Highway 141 in Missouri, which starts at U.S. Route 370 in Bridgeton, St. Louis County, and ends at U.S. Route 61/U.S. Route 67 in Arnold, Jefferson County. The stretch of Highway 141 between U.S. Route 370 and Interstate 64 runs roughly parallel to the Missouri River. The northern section of the highway is often referred to as the Maryland Heights Expressway. The section of Highway 141 in Jefferson County spans four lanes (2 lanes in each direction), but in St. Louis County it is a divided highway with four to eight lanes.
MO 364 (Page Avenue) and MO 340 (Olive Boulevard) are both important east-west roadways connecting the Cities of Maryland Heights and Chesterfield, as well as the Missouri River Valley area to downtown St. Louis. The two-mile long Page-Olive Connector is a section of Highway 141, beginning in Maryland Heights at an interchange with MO 364 (Page Avenue), passing through mainly residential areas of eastern Chesterfield, and ending at the interchange with MO 340 (Olive Boulevard). The Page-Olive Connector passes over Waterworks Road, but no access ramps are provided at this point.
Interstate 70 is approximately 3.5 miles north and Interstate 64 four miles south of the project. Interstate 270 is located just east of the Page-Olive Connector, running roughly parallel to it, with interchanges at MO 364 and MO 340. The St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) is located 10 miles from the center point of the Page-Olive Connector and is accessible via Highway 141 and Interstate 70.
2.2 Community Character & Project Context
The Page-Olive Connector passes through the two suburban communities of Maryland Heights and Chesterfield in St. Louis County, within the St. Louis metropolitan area. In 2015, Chesterfield and Maryland Heights together accounted for more than 77,000 jobs, [rs1] and[SM2] [rs3] had a combined population of 75,107.
Both Maryland Heights and Chesterfield are located in the Howard Bend Levee Planning Area, which includes the Missouri Riverside, Crystal Springs, (Maryland Heights) Expressway, Creve Coeur Lake, Missouri River and River Valley Planning Districts. This area is known for its parks (located around the Missouri riverbanks) and environmentally-protected areas, as well as summer resorts and waterparks. Currently this area has state and regional 18 parks[SM4] [rs5] .
The City of Maryland Heights is a suburban community in the northwest section of the St. Louis metropolitan area. Based on U.S. Census 2015 data, 50% of people living in Maryland Heights worked within the Howard Bend area[SM6] [rs7] ; of the more than 41,000 [SM8] [rs9] employees[SM10] [rs11] who worked in Maryland Heights, only around 4% lived within the city. Major employers include Edward Jones, Magellan Health Services, Monsanto, Worldwide Technologies, and United Healthcare of the Midwest.
The City of Chesterfield has a strong retail base. The Chesterfield Mall is one of the largest suburban shopping centers in the St. Louis metropolitan area, with over 1.9 million square feet of enclosed shopping space. St. Luke’s Hospital, Parkway School District, and Delmar Garden Enterprises are major employers in the city.
Between 2009 and 2015, the population of the two cities grew by a combined 3.7% while employment decreased by 12%. This decrease in employment is mainly due to the aftermath of the economic recession (2007 to 2010). Over the same period, average employment growth in the state of Missouri was about 3.8% and population growth was 3.2%. In 2015, the average personal income in Chesterfield was $31,644. This was 27% lower than the state’s average income level ($43,723). In Maryland Heights, the average income per person in 2015 ($51,313) was 17% above the state average ($43,723).
Route 141 was constructed in the 1930s as a two-lane, north-south arterial around St. Louis. Since then, it has been upgraded in different sections to a four-lane or six-lane expressway. The section between Page Avenue and Olive Boulevard, as well as the portion between Ladue Road and Olive Boulevard, were the last sections to be improved in 2012.
In February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed, providing states across the nation with access to more than $780 billion in an effort to create jobs and alleviate the impacts of the 2008 economic crisis. This financial package motivated the state of Missouri to pursue Highway 141 enhancement projects, which included the Page-Olive Connector. Financial support from local governments and agencies enabled the state to secure the funds for starting the highway improvement projects.
The construction of the Page-Olive Connector started in the spring of 2010 and the new expressway opened to traffic in July of 2012. The primary motivation for the project was to improve the overall mobility in the area and relieve traffic congestion on Interstate 270. Prior to the Highway 141 improvement project, the northern terminus of the highway was at Olive Boulevard. The existing Route 141 flooded regularly and parts of the roadway were closed to traffic several times a year. Vehicles traveling between the Maryland Heights Expressway in the north and Interstate 64 in the south had to use the Creve Coeur Mill local road or Interstate 270, where traffic congestion was considerable. Interviewees clarified that the expansion of Highway 141 included the replacement and repair of the bridges to minimize traffic disruptions resulting from seasonal flooding of the local rivers.
The Howard Bend Comprehensive Plan of 2006 anticipated a new interchange to be constructed at MO 141 and Waterworks Road. However, this interchange was not constructed because the road design was based on Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) guidelines, which limit the number of signalized intersections on the expressway. Therefore, vehicles traveling in the River Valley District use local roads such as River Valley Drive, Hog Hollow Road, and Creve Coeur Mill Road to reach Olive Boulevard or Highway 141. As a result, any future development in the River Valley area will cause the intersection of Highway 141 and River Valley Drive to become a critical point of congestion for the overall Howard Bend Planning Area.
4.1 Transportation Impacts
According to 2015 traffic counts by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), the Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) on the Page-Olive Connector was 28,243. Between 2009 and 2015 (before and after the project), movements on MO 364 (Page Avenue) significantly increased (from 43,374 to 82, 638 AADT) as a result of the Page-Olive Connector.
The AADT on MO 340 (Olive Boulevard) slightly decreased (from 34,046 to 33,930) because of the traffic being diverted to the Connector. Interstate 270, which is parallel to the Page-Olive Connector, has seen a slight decrease in AADT between 2009 (176,768) and 2015 (180,169) as well.
4.2 Demographic, Economic & Land Use Impacts
Prior to the completion of the Highway 141 expansion project, the Maryland Heights Expressway was under the jurisdiction of the St. Louis County Department of Highways & Traffic. The Howard Bend area’s 2006 comprehensive plan suggested adding two new traffic signals north of the MO 364 interchange to expand the area of potential development around the Page-Olive Connector. However, the roadway came under the jurisdiction of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) after the project was completed, which affected the allowed number of signalized intersections along Highway 141. Under MoDOT’s Access Management Guidelines, traffic signals are only allowed at a minimum spacing of half-a-mile. Therefore, the two mentioned intersections were not built. Also, the intersection of Waterworks Road and Page-Olive Connector was built without any access ramps due to MoDOT’s design guidelines.
MoDOT’s limitation on access points from the River Valley area to the Page-Olive Connector hindered development potential along the Page-Olive Connector. In Maryland Heights, five new hotels are under construction (as of 2017) and World Wide Technology and Watlow Electric are continuing the construction of their new headquarters (both located close to Interstate 270 and MO 364). However, none of these developments can be attributed to the Page-Olive Connector Project.
Currently, about 90% of houses in Maryland Heights are 25 years or older. Between 2000 and 2015, only 432 units of new housing were added to the market. In 2016, the city’s first large-scale residential development (with more than 2,000 housing units) and about 450,000 square feet of mixed-use development (office and retail spaces), entered the permit and planning stage. This development is located in the River Valley Planning District on 210 acres of land west of the Page-Olive Connector. The project approval was granted in part due to the new access provided by the Page-Olive Connector. As a result of the improved connectivity between MO 364 and MO 340, the City of Maryland Heights decided to close Valley River Road between the two state routes and approved the application to rezone the existing agricultural land use to a mixed-use (office and retail spaces) district, under the condition of providing a buffer to the Missouri American Water treatment plant and integrating the site plan with adjacent uses. The project is currently at the planning/permitting stage. An estimated 522 jobs will be created in the area if the project is completed as planned.
The Howard Bend area has undergone many developments during the past decade, the most important being the construction of multiple 500-year levees to mitigate flooding. The improvement and expansion projects on Highway 141, including the construction of the connection between Page Avenue and Olive Boulevard, are other examples. Infrastructure- and utility-wise, only minor additional improvements were necessary for the Page-Olive Connector project (storm water sewer) to become fully operational.
The business community of the Howard Bend Planning Area is quite diverse, and local governments have shown support for new mixed-use development plans in the area. In 2016, the City of Maryland Heights increased the community development department’s budget to fund economic development activities with incentive programs. As the Missouri River frontage in the City of Maryland Heights is no longer a flood plain, recovered wetlands are ready for development. The city plans to become the areas destination for water sports, entertainment, hospitality, and retail and residential spaces.
Because the southern parts of the Page-Olive Connector pass through densely developed residential areas in the City of Chesterfield, no major rezoning or supportive land use policies have been adopted. However, the City of Maryland Heights has recently (2016) approved some rezoning policies to support more development in the Howard Bend Planning Area.
Organization, Name, Position
MoDOT, Andrew Gates, Community Relations Specialist
St. Louis Regional Management, Karen Yeomans, District Design Engineer
St. Louis County Government, Ted Medler, Manager of Planning and Programming
Case Study Developed by University of Maryland