HAZELWOOD, Mo. – It was 10 years ago when the Missouri Department of Transportation began hosting public input meetings for planned improvements along Interstate 270 in north St. Louis County.
On Tuesday, MoDOT representatives, local elected officials, and Governor Mike Parson were in attendance in Hazelwood to celebrate the completion of the $278 million project.
“This is what makes me happy,” Missouri Highways Commissioner Greg Smith said on Tuesday. “(It) makes me proud.”
Construction on the nine-mile stretch of I-270 began in late 2019.
“This was one of our most in-need interstate corridors in the St. Louis region,” Tom Blair, MoDOT district engineer, said.
Governor Parson had visited the site a number of times throughout its construction, meeting with nearby residents.
“I remember early on a lady came up to me and her biggest issue was to get across the highway, and she didn’t have a car,” Parson said.
The projects are helping improve pedestrian and cyclist accessibility. It also added new lanes and bridges while repaving old lanes and fixing old bridges. The project also added the only dedicated bus lane in the state, from the North County Transit Center to the St. Louis Community College campus in Florissant.
“These improvements will help 140,000 vehicles that use this stretch every day,” MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said.
In July, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved the statewide transportation improvement program for the next five years, making $14 billion of federal and state dollars available for transportation projects.
“All the projects are going to be done in a seven-year period. It’s just remarkable for our state,” Parson said.
The project was also part of the Pave Program, which gave north St. Louis County high school STEM students job experience. More than 100 students participated in the I-270 project.