Missouri Route 370 is a 12-mile long highway that connects Interstate 270 in Bridgeton with Interstate 70 in St. Peters via the newly constructed Discovery Bridge over the Missouri River. The project was undertaken to address a deteriorating two-lane Highway 115 Bridge (Rock Road Bridge) and to relieve traffic on the Blanchette Bridge (I-70).
Project Type:Bridge Project Mode:Highway Average Annual Daily Traffic:60,000 Length (mi):12.00
Economic Distress:0.98 Population Density (ppl/sq mi):1250 Population Growth Rate (%):0.37
Employment Growth Rate (%):1.04 Market Size:891,052 Airport Travel Distance:19 Topography:14
Region:Great Lakes / Plains State:MO County:St. Charles and St. Louis Counties
City:St. Charles Urban/Class Level:Mixed Local Area:St. Charles
Impact Area:County Transportation System:Highway GIS Lat/Long:38.797526 / -90.468029
Initial Study Date:1987 Post Constr. Study Date:2007
Constr. Start Date:1988 Constr. End Date:1996
Project Year of Expenditure (YOE): 1996 Planned Cost (YOE $):N/A
Actual Cost (YOE $):343,000,000 Actual Cost (curr $):509,268,649
NOTE: All pre/post dollar values are in 2013$
Select a region to display the conditions for that region:
NOTE: All impact dollar values are in 2013$
|Income (in $M's)||363.02||247.42||610.44|
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Missouri Route 370, constructed between 1988 and 1996 for $343 million ($1996), connects Interstate 270 in Bridgeton (about 20 miles north of St. Louis) with Interstate 70 in St. Peters via the newly constructed Discovery Bridge over the Missouri River. The twelve-mile long highway runs through four incorporated cities: Bridgeton and Hazelwood in St. Louis County, and St. Charles and St. Peters in St. Charles County. The direct economic impacts of the construction of Route 370 and the Discovery Bridge over 6.74 million square feet of new office, retail, industrial and warehouse space, over 2,000 housing units, more than 7,000 jobs, over $3 million in real property taxes on commercial and industrial property, and over $25 million in new retail tax revenues. Several million additional dollars in real property taxes are being collected on residential properties in the New Town at St. Charles development and surrounding area. Total property values have increased by well over $230,000,000, and will continue to increase as The New Town at St. Charles is completed.
2.1 Location & Transportation Connections
Route 370 and the Discovery Bridge are located approximately 20 miles northwest of the City of St. Louis in eastern Missouri, connecting St. Charles and St. Louis Counties. Route 370 connects Interstate 270 in Bridgeton, St. Louis County, with I-70 in St. Peters, St. Charles County. Starting in the east, the highway runs through Bridgeton, Hazelwood and Earth City, before crossing the Missouri River into the City of St. Charles and parts of unincorporated St. Charles County, and continuing on to St. Peters. Interstate 70 provides east-west connections between the Baltimore area and Cove Fort, Utah (175 miles south of Salt Lake City.) Interstate 270 is a partial beltway around St. Louis that connects with I-70 south of the study area, and I-55 to the northeast of the study area.
Lambert - St. Louis International Airport is approximately 9 miles from the eastern terminus of Route 370. The Norfolk Southern Railway provides freight service to the St. Louis metropolitan area. Trains traverse the Missouri River on the Wabash Bridge, next to the Route 370 Discovery Bridge.
The Katy Trail, a 225 mile long state park along the Missouri River, is used by bikers and hikers. It is a major tourist draw for the St. Charles area.
2.2 Community Character & Project Context
The St. Louis-St. Charles Missouri-Illinois Consolidated Statistical Area (CSA) had an estimated population of 2,816,710 in 2008, and ranked as the sixteenth largest CSA in the United States. The CSA includes the City of St. Louis as well as eight counties in Missouri. St. Louis County (2008 population of 991,830) and St. Charles County (2008 population of 349,407) are the two most populous counties in the CSA. Bridgeton, Hazelwood, St. Charles and St. Peters are the four incorporated communities within the Route 370 corridor, with a combined 2008 population of 161,640.
Between 1987 and 2007, the region (defined as St. Louis and St. Charles Counties) realized population growth of 13 percent and employment growth of 30 percent. This compares to statewide population growth of 17 percent, and employment growth of 19 percent. In 1987, the region had 23.3 percent of the state's population and 30.0 percent of the state's employment. By 2007, the region's share of population had decreased to 22.6 percent, while its share of statewide employment had increased to 32.8.
The economy of St. Charles and St. Louis Counties is quite diverse. Boeing's Defense, Space & Security Unit is headquartered in Hazelwood and employs over 15,000 in the St. Louis metro area, including 1,000 at a facility in St. Charles. It is by far the largest employer in the study area. Boeing has attracted many smaller aerospace parts manufacturers to the region. Hazelwood has more recently transformed itself into a regional shopping mecca, with the development of the St. Louis Mills Mall. The City of Bridgeton abuts Lambert Field, the St. Louis international airport, and is the headquarters for Trans State Airlines and its subsidiary, GoJet Airlines. The Save-A-Lot grocery chain is headquartered in Earth City near Route 370.
St. Charles is the second largest city in the St. Louis metropolitan area, and has experienced rapid growth over the past two decades. In addition to Boeing, major employers include Ameristar Casino, several distribution firms including Coca Cola, Glazer's Midwest (wine and spirits), Sysco Foods, and ViJon Laboratories, the St. Charles Convention Center, several aerospace parts manufacturers, and biomedical companies. St. Charles has also developed a vibrant downtown that has capitalized on the region's history and its location along the Missouri River.
Missouri Route 370 is a twelve mile long state highway that begins in the east at the intersection with Interstate 270. It crosses the Missouri River via the Discovery Bridge, skirts the northern edge of the City of St. Charles, and ends at the intersection of Interstate 70 in St. Peters. The six-lane highway, constructed between 1988 and 1996, has seven full interchanges and one partial interchange. The construction cost (exclusive of right-of-way acquisition) was $280 million ($1996). The Right-of-way acquisition cost was approximately $63 million ($1996.) The highway was originally planned to extend just four miles, from I-70 to Route 94; however, in 1987 Missouri voters approved a $.04 motor fuel tax to pay for extending the highway from Route 94 to I-270. Federal Bridge Replacement money was used to build the Discovery Bridge, necessitating the removal of the Highway 115 Bridge. The road was named Route 370 to mirror route numbering for the Intestate system, in hopes that it would one day be included in the Interstate system. However, no federal interstate money was used for its construction, and there are no current plans to add it to the system.
Several highway concerns motivated the construction of Route 370 and the Discovery Bridge. The two-lane Highway 115 Bridge (Rock Road Bridge) that provided access to downtown St. Charles had deteriorated badly and needed significant repairs. Greater capacity was needed to relieve traffic on the Blanchette Bridge (I-70) to the south, which was serving over 100,000 vehicles per day. Adding capacity to the Highway 115 bridge was not an option because the street system in downtown St. Charles could not handle the traffic. In addition, the City of St. Charles was interested in expanding its tax base by luring businesses to undeveloped land on the north side of the City. Businesses continually expressed interest in this area, but were deterred by the lack of good highway access. Finally, the Boeing Company operated a large plant on Route 94 in St. Charles County, and both the City and the company were interested in improved highway access to the facility and the Route 94 corridor. All of these factors contributed to the decision to relocate the bridge approximately one mile north of the Highway 115 Bridge, and to construct a new highway connecting Interstate 270 and Interstate 70.
The project had wide support from the communities through which it ran, in large part because the highway would provide access to large tracts of undeveloped land. There was some concern by downtown businesses that the loss of access provided by the Route 115 Bridge would translate to lost business. This has not occurred, as St. Charles has transformed its downtown into a vibrant, historic riverfront destination with restaurants and entertainment venues.
4.1 Transportation Impacts
Route 370 and the Discovery Bridge have had important positive impacts on the transportation system. The added capacity on the Discovery Bridge handles 60,000 vehicles per day (AADT), compared to the 17,000 vehicles that used the Route 115 Bridge each day. Some of the traffic is generated by extensive new development along the highway (see next section 4.1.2), while some is pass-through traffic that has been diverted from the Blanchette Bridge on I-70, relieving congestion on that busy highway.
4.2 Demographic, Economic & Land Use Impacts
Route 370 has had a tremendous impact on development along its length both in St. Charles and St. Louis Counties. In St. Louis County, the highway opened up vast amounts of land that previously had no highway access. The City of Hazelwood created a special zoning district called a Planned Development District to allow the development of the 815,000 square foot St. Louis Mills Mall and several buildings on out lots on 197 acres of previously undeveloped land. The mall houses 151 retail, entertainment and service establishments with approximately 2,339 employees occupying 1.3 million square feet. Hazelwood also rezoned 143 acres north of the mall for light industrial uses. The Park 370 industrial park has been developed with 2,015,300 square feet of warehousing and industrial space that now houses 28 businesses employing 922 people. Fifty-four acres remains undeveloped at the park. In 2003, prior to development, the land was assessed at $11,197,010. The total assessed value of the land and improvements for these two sites is now $52,939,642, bringing in an estimated $1.3 million in real property taxes. The Mills and it out lots generated $180,858,351 in sales in 2009, resulting in $15,960,309 in sales tax. These taxes are split between the State, the County, the City and the transportation development district, which was established to help fund the infrastructure for the development (see section 5.0 for more about the TDD.)
The City of Hazelwood has further rezoned a portion of the Missouri Bottoms from non-urban to light industrial in response to a petition by a developer who wishes to build the 370 Business Center on the site. This development has not yet moved forward. An additional 120 acres of land could be brought out of the flood plain through excavation and developed, but currently remains in agricultural use. This is the last remaining developable parcel in Hazelwood near the highway.
The City of Bridgeton rezoned several tracks of land near the Route 370 interchange from rural to commercial to attract highway-dependent businesses. To date, the city has attracted the retailer American Television and Furniture to a site at the Route 370 interchange. The 130,000 square foot facility employs approximately 60 people. The city is pursuing the development of an industrial park near the interchange, but has not had success attracting businesses, in large part because of the current economic climate.
The City of St. Charles has focused substantial efforts on attracting new development to the Route 370 corridor with considerable success. In 1996, the Fountain Lakes Commerce Center was established. In support of this center, the City approved a $15 million TIF District aimed at lifting 432 acres (300 developable) of land out of the flood plan and installing infrastructure to create a high quality business park. To date, a total of 2,166,000 square feet of space have been developed (1.312 million square feet of warehouse/distribution, 572,000 square feet of manufacturing space, 127,000 square feet of service center/flex space, and 155,000 square feet of office space) employing 3,250 people. Some of the larger employers include Gateway Medical (recently sold to Cetero), Cardinal Health, Financial Asset Management, LMI/Aerospace, and Glazer's Midwest. In total, 71 businesses employing over 8,700 people have been attracted, retained, or expanded in the corridor since the Route 370 corridor was constructed. These represent the full range of industries from lodging to warehousing to aerospace engineering and manufacturing.
In 1996, the assessed valuation of this land was $71,430, generating less than $5,000 per year in real property taxes and no personal property taxes. In 2008, assess valuation of real property reached $27,606,550, generating nearly $700,000 in real property taxes. (The TIF does not capture personal property taxes.) An agreement between the City and the developer provides that 15 percent of real revenue generated by the development goes to other taxing entities (such as the school district.) The TIF expires in 2014. There are 113 acres of vacant developable land remaining in the business park.
Elm Point Business Park in St. Charles has accommodated 1.1million square feet of new office and industrial space since 1996, employing around 3,400 people. The assessed value of this development is $18 million, bringing in $456,413 in real property taxes.
In addition to the business growth that has occurred around Route 370 in St. Charles, The New Town at St. Charles, a $1.3 billion new urbanism community of 5,700 housing units has developed on 750 acres of land served by the highway. According to the director of economic development for the City, this development would not have happened without the highway. The development has 2,000 residents and continues to sell homes even in the current real estate slump. Supporting retail and service businesses have sprung up to serve this development. This development has resulted in millions of dollars of property tax revenue, although the total cannot be easily calculated due to how records are kept.
Despite the overall downturn in housing development nationally, St. Charles County has added 17,000 housing units since 2004, 3,000 in the past two years (2008-2010.) Sales tax revenues in St. Charles have increased from $11.4 million in 1997 to $15.8 million in 2008 (+39 percent.)
Finally, the City of St. Peters has approved a master plan for Premier 370, an 835 acre master planned, mixed-use business park. Development has been delayed at this site because of flood insurance issues, which were cleared up in late 2008. Since that time, Dayton Freight, a less-than-truckload trucking company, has committed to build a 30,000 square foot building in the park that will employ an estimated 30 people. The park is fully served by infrastructure and economic development officials expect development to increase dramatically as the economy improves.
To date, over 6.74 million square feet of development with more than 7,000 direct jobs, and 2,000 housing units have been developed in the Route 370 corridor since construction of the highway and Discovery Bridge. There are several hundred more acres of development-ready land that can support substantial additional development. Economic development leaders credit the highway as the main stimulus for this growth, although the communities in the corridor all adopted supportive zoning and financial incentive programs to support this growth as well (see section 5.0.) Total property values have increased by well over $230,000,000 to date, with less than half of The New town at St. Charles development completed. The development within the corridor has increased commercial and industrial real property tax revenues by more than $3 million, and retail sales tax revenues by more than $25,960,309. Several million more in residential property taxes have been generated due to development at The New Town at St. Charles and the surrounding area. The communities within the study area have zoned several hundred additional acres within the corridor for commercial and industrial development, and expect that the impacts of the highway will continue to grow when the national economy recovers.
The City of Hazelwood rezoned over 300 acres of land to accommodate the development that was attracted by the highway. Hazelton and Bridgeton jointly adopted both a Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) and a Transportation Development District (TDD) for the parcels included in Park 350 and the Mills Mall. In 2003, $26,385,000 in TIF bonds were issued for the area. These were substantially repaid by mid-2008. The TDD, which is funded through a 1 percent sales tax on all goods and services sold within the district, generated $1,808,534 in sales taxes in 2009. The TDD funds are used to pay for infrastructure within the Mills Mall and Park 370 area, including roads, parking lots and drainage. The City of Bridgeton also rezoned land to promote development near the Route 370 interchange in that city.
St. Charles rezoned hundreds of acres of land to accommodate new business and residential development. The City also approved a TIF District, which paid for much of the infrastructure and land preparation costs for the Fountain Lakes Commerce Park.
The City of St. Peters worked with FEMA for several years to resolve issues that were limiting the ability of potential tenants of its industrial park to obtain flood insurance. This problem was resolved in October of 2008, and the City immediately approved plans by Dayton Freight Lines to build a facility at the park. The City has rezoned rural land to accommodate commercial and industrial development.
In 1996, the cities of St. Charles, St. Peters, Hazelwood and Bridgeton, as well as St. Charles County and private partners such as AT&T and Millstone Bangert, formed a group called Discover!370 to promote the Route 370 corridor as a business location. The group's active promotion of the region has been instrumental in its success.
City of Hazelwood Economic Development Department
City of Hazelwood Planning Department
City of St. Charles Department of Economic Development
Missouri Department of Transportation
St. Charles County Department of Transportation
Town of Bridgeton Administrator’s Office
Case study developed by Susan Jones Moses and Associates