St. Louis Forum

Anger Over St. Charles County Roads

Mar 2, 2010 Fox2Now 37
Deadly roads, with no room for error. A slight distraction, a slick spot or a strong wind could send you rolling. Read more ...

Timberwolf of Troy, MO on Mar 3, 2010

I have driven these roads my entire life, 32 years, traffic has increased. I have never hit a critter and never went off the road. Speed limits have not changed, that may help in the interim, until funding can be found. I have heard about shoulders being added forever, but that won't change the curves in these roads, people still have to slow down.

Paul Gragg of Wentzville, MO on Mar 3, 2010

I just wanted to make a very important comment about the dangerous St. Charles County Rd. story you did on Tues 3/2/10. Something that no one has mentioned yet is that because of the share the road laws. We have bicyclist riding on these very same roads even though the Katie Trail is only a couple miles away. There has been several close calls and accidents because of this. There is also a spot 2 miles down on hwy F from New Melle were the Fred Weber Quarry is located. As you descend down the steep hill there is no guard rail on the right overlooking the quarry. If you were to run of the road there you would drop approximately 100'.

Kayla of Lake Saint Louis, MO on Mar 3, 2010

In May 2008 I was driving home from class on a Wednesday night around 9:30. I live in Defiance, near D and DD, I take D through Busch Wildlife to get home. I was sixteen and it was a few months after I had gotten my license. My tires ran off the right side of the road and I overcorrected, crossed the opposite lane, and cwent into the ditch on the other side. I was driving a GMC Envoy and it had over $8000 in damage and it was totaled.

Joe of Lake Saint Louis, MO on Mar 3, 2010

Modot says it doesn't have the money to put shoulders on the roads. Like the man said at the town hall meeting. "It's a matter of allocation, we have 43 percent of the fatal accidents, we want 43 percent of the money."

Mike of Lake Saint Louis, MO on Mar 3, 2010

My son rolled our truck on Highway DD, luckily he wasn't hurt. If there had been shoulders on the road I would still be driving that truck.

Mike of Lake Saint Louis, MO on Mar 3, 2010

Joe wrote:
Modot says it doesn't have the money to put shoulders on the roads. Like the man said at the town hall meeting. "It's a matter of allocation, we have 43 percent of the fatal accidents, we want 43 percent of the money."
I couldn't agree more, they have the money, they just choose not to spend it on our roads!!!

Pat of Saint Peters, MO on Mar 4, 2010

I would like to comment that taxes are very high for my real estate property in the New Melle/Defiance area and I feel that we deserve the same road committment that Highway 109 received (from Wildhorse Creek to Clayton Road and beyond). There is just as much traffic if not more that travel Highway D and DD everyday as that route.
I realize it is gas tax that funds the bucket for the roads however as a whole state, the $$$ collected should not be what is in a certain mile radius that keeps that area bucket flowing. Does Chesterfield or Highway 40 need any more BEAUTIFICATION to their overpasses? example the $$$ in fancy concrete work design,those light fixtures on the overpasses or the engraving of the road name on the overpass. SPREAD the money more appropriately. Keep up the GREAT WORK SOS committee members. I support you dedication.

Dana of Lake Saint Louis, MO on Mar 4, 2010

I just wanted to say that I have lived in Defiance now for 11 years and the roads need shoulders. It doesnt matter how long you have been driving or even if you would drive 45mph the bottom line is you have no where to go if someone crosses the line or if you drop a tire or someone else drops a tire. We cant bring back the people that have lost their lives but we can try to help from anyone else loosing their child,mother,wife,husband etc.

Barb of O Fallon, MO on Mar 4, 2010

The County has millions of dollars to invest in land for 2 more parks out here in this area which will draw even more traffic out here but they can't find money to fix the roads and save lives. We need somebody to set some priorities here people. We will not stop putting pressure on our elected representatives until someone with guts stands up and says enough is enough. It is all about reallocation. We appreciate all the positive talk from gov. officials but actions speak louder than words.

Jackie of Saint Louis, MO on Mar 4, 2010

I have lived in the Defiance/New Melle area for the past 35 years and much of what everyone else has posted is very true. The amount of traffic has increased, the deer and other animals jumping into the road unexpectedly and bicyclists on the road increases the danger because you have nowhere to go - you come around a blind curve and there they are... Ask yourself this - are you going in the ditch and probably roll, swerve into the other lane and hit someone head on, or hit the deer/biker? Why should we have to make that kind of decision? My parents have lost friends on these roads, I have lost friends on these roads, my children have lost friends on these roads and we know many others who have had close calls. My former neighbors were hit head-on by a lumber truck who dropped a tire off and overcorrected into the other lane and were killed instantly. They were a victim of the roads. The gravel on the sides is a start, but it's just not enough - much of it has already washed away where they put it down. We need a real solution. We need graded shoulders.

New Melle Resident of Wentzville, MO on Mar 4, 2010

I agree there needs to be something done about the shoulders, especially since there are so many IGNORANT people who bike on D, DD, Z, T, etc. I have had way too many close encounters with bicyclists and like Jackie says, why should I have to possibly hit the ditch to avoid them and have my life put at risk when they can go bike on the Katy Trail; or at least on a side road where the speed limit is 35 and I wouldn't have to avoid them AND oncoming traffic at 55 mph, coming around a curve or over a hill. I am sick of these bicyclists thinking it's completely fine to ride their bike down D, DD, etc. I don't care if they want to put their own life at risk but I'd rather they not put mine at risk as well. I'm all for shoulders.

Steven of Saint Louis, MO on Mar 4, 2010

A serious law suit against the state may change things. These roads do not appear to be up to "county standards". This situation is another reminder that as constituents our cries fall on deaf ears. Let's publicly expose those responsible for perpetuating this situation and get their rear ends out of office. Leaches who can't find a real job. I am sickened by this.

Dana D of Excelsior Springs, MO on Mar 4, 2010

Mike wrote:
My son rolled our truck on Highway DD, luckily he wasn't hurt. If there had been shoulders on the road I would still be driving that truck.
The roads were bad when I was growing up and they haven't changed. it is obvious the people in charge have their priorities mixed up. Is it going to take one of their loved ones to get hurt or God forbid, die due to a rollover, because of no shoulders? That is sad especially when senators say all the empty promises just to get your vote. They WILL NEVER GET MY VOTE!!! Thank God my nephew lived through his rollover!!

Cindy-New Melle of O Fallon, MO on Mar 4, 2010

I agree with all the comments made regarding the roads in New Melle. It is amazing to me that most of the money going for road improvements always tends to lead to solving traffic problems, bottle necks, as so on. Well I am fed up with it. Who really cares if you have to sit in traffic a few minutes longer before you reach your destination, you got there alive, no one is getting killed sitting in a bottle neck, but when you LIVE in an area that EVERY road out is DANGEROUS and no room for error on your part or the on coming traffic, and god for bid if there is any error or distraction, your chances of arriving to your destination alive are pretty slim. THAT I BELIEVE IS CAUSE FOR EVERYONES CONCERN AND SHOULD BE ADDRESSED AND SOLVED!!! EVERYTIME when I drive our roads I think of my friend's daughter who lost her life on Hwy. D a year ago, just coming home from friends on a Sunday evening. She did not reach her destination alive just because her tire went slightly off the side of the NARROW ROAD WITH NO SHOULDER. As a tax payer, I AM FED UP!!!! WE ARE LOSING OUR CHILDREN, SPOUSES, FRIENDS, FAMILY, OUT HERE AND THERE IS MORE AND MORE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT GOING ON, AND OUR ROADS ARE NOT SAFE ENOUGH TO TRAVEL ON! We are not in Kansas anymore folks!!Our representatives need to step up to the plate and BE THE CHANGE, LIVES OVER $$$$$.

DDA of O Fallon, MO on Mar 4, 2010

I agree also that we need shoulders. As Steven mentioned these roads are not up to standards. Isn't this illegal? Isn't it the our highway dept's job to make them standard width? Yes there are a lot of curves on the road and we need to all watch our speed limit, but the bottom line is where can I go if I have a flat tire or my car breaks down? There is no safe place at all. MODOT needs to reevaluate the spending and prioritize it out in this area. I am totally flabbergasted at the percentage of accidents that do occur on these roads.
Get with it MODOT rearrange some of your budget!!

Sandy of Lake Saint Louis, MO on Mar 4, 2010

If these politicians can't provide safe roads for my children, then I'll elect politicians who can.

JWS of Toronto, Canada on Mar 4, 2010

Another point I haven't seen raised thus far is the repairs that come too late and are shoddy quality. Pot-holes are left untreated so long that they are really deep and if you hit them because you can't go around them with oncoming traffic and no shoulders, it's dangerous-your car pulls one way or the other. Pot-holes get "fixed" then become "pot-hills" that cause cars to jerk & swerve when hit at speeds of 45-55mph. They did some grading and added a very small shoulder on HWY D, between Callaway Fork Road and a little past Benne Road last summer and they just added the shoulder on - right next to places where the edge of the road was falling off and sinking rather than fixing that while they were there. There are several places along that stretch where the new shoulders are now sinking and caved in - useless. I'm sick of my tax dollars being used to pay for shoddy repairs that just have to be re-done in a few months! Do it right the first time and we don't have to pay for the same spots to be fixed two and three times in one year. Who's doing quality checks on their work?? I'm guessing NO ONE. We just keep paying for it.

Peggy of Lake Saint Louis, MO on Mar 4, 2010

We are not asking for a 4 lane road. This is a Safety Project to save lives. The projects that are allocated money for the next year or two are to make transportation more convenient. This is a no-brainer. The 2500 students riding a school bus on these roads deserve safer transportation. The buses barely even fit in their lane. Clipping mirrors is not uncommon. How can this be alright with our politicians?

Sandi of Lima, NY on Mar 5, 2010

I lived on these roads all my life. I am now 40. When "repairs" are done, when "resurfacing" is done, when they say "we are making the roads better", it usually means another 1-2 inches of blacktop on top of what is already there. This just makes the drop off deeper and more dangerous! I agree with everything everyone has said here. REALLOCATION is the key. PRIORITIES need to be reevaluated.

Lives are more important than traffic. I was in a school bus that went off the road and was laying on it's side in the ditch!! No one was injured then, thanks to a bus driver who knew the dangers and was prepared enough to be going slow! But as a kid, I was scared to death! Anyone who knows me, knows I have had my fair share of accidents on these roads!(and a little of everyone else's share too!) My father taught me very early on about the roads out here, there danger and how to handle a drop off. If he hadn't, my accidents would have been a whole lot worse!

While I think that is a very useful skill to have, it is not one taught in drivers ed, and most parents don't think about it!

*If you drop off, DO NOT TRY TO GET BACK ON THE ROAD! Slow down (gently). Once slowed down, then turn the wheel to get back onto the road.*

This is not a fix for the problem, by any means! WE NEED SHOULDERS for all those that don't know this, know the roads and their dangers, and are the victims of other's non-knowledge!

County Driver of United States on Mar 5, 2010

I agree. I travel on these roads quite often and shoulders are needed for bikers, car break downs and the like. However, when you have people driving 10, 15, 20+ miles over the speed limit, passing in no passing zones, and riding 1 foot from the car in front of them then shoulders aren't going to do a lot of good. Like I said earlier, I travel these roads quite often.

Duane of Chicago, IL on Mar 5, 2010

I was at the town hall meeting when Modot said there was great, thanks to SOS and Joe Brazil for setting this up and getting this ball rolling.

I would like to help but business has me traveling too much.

We feel for the family's of those who have been killed. Two people have died this year, I feel terrible for those families.

Four children were left without a mother by one of the accidents. I wonder how the Modot people sleep at night knowing if they had started fixing the roads when we asked, these people may still be alive.

Kathleen of AOL on Mar 5, 2010

These roads need SHOULDERS! People also need to slow down, get off their cell phones and pay attention! I am constantly watching the sides of the roads for animals and people. There is no safe place to pull over if there are accidents. A few years ago a Developer wanted to build a very large Development in New Melle. People were concerned about the increased traffic on our roads. The comment made was that the roads would be fixed years after the increased traffic demanded it be fixed. What??? We already have the increased traffic. There are Blind entrances to Subdivisions, no Guard Rails, etc... Yet we pay taxes out here like we live in Ladue or Chesterfield! 28 years ago today I lost my brother in a car and tractor trailer accident in Washington Mo. Last year our friend's son rolled their truck, our neighbor's girlfriend was killed after overcorrecting on a shoulder. A mother and daughter from our church was in an accident after heavy equipment fell off a truck going around one of the curves and the daughter died. Isn't it about time we make fixing roads in Missouri a Priority and stop worrying about the Beautification of an overpass or the flowers off exit ramps? We are certainly paying enough in Gas Taxes to get this accomplished. Our elected officials need to remember why they were elected and Stop feeding the PORK!

Lori-St Charles City of Saint Charles, MO on Mar 5, 2010

As a person who visits my family in the area frequently and as a concerned Aunt with a Niece who has to take the bus to school everyday on these roads and not too far away from becoming a driver herself, there has to be a solution. Come on MODOT the next few years, 5 miles here and 5 miles there, that's your solution ?? How many more lives have to be lost for you to take this seriously.

Learn to Drive of Irving, TX on Mar 8, 2010

slow drive and be more cautious stop trying to waste tax dollars ST.Charles County!

Read this on Carter Law of Troy, MO on Mar 10, 2010

The economic recession has forced federal, state and local governments to cut back in some of the same ways that individual citizens have had to cut back: some good ideas have been put on the back-burner, and some commonplace maintenance projects have been put on hold. But what happens when someone is injured in a car accident because the government couldn’t afford to improve a road, replace missing signage or conduct a traffic study?
Although most people are familiar with lawsuits in which someone who has been wrongfully injured sues the person who is responsible, many do not realize that if a division of the government is to blame, then the government, too, can be held responsible. Thus, when accidents occur on the state’s highways, in addition to claims against the driver(s) who contributed to the accident, injury victims may be able to hold the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) accountable for their negligence with a claim against the Highways and Transportation Commission, the six-member board that governs MoDOT. An injured party may have a claim against MoDOT if their negligence in not properly designing, repairing or maintaining the road contributed to the accident.
Sovereign Immunity
Generally, governments at the state and national level hold sovereign immunity—that is, they are immune to lawsuits. Although the concept dates back centuries to the days when people were ruled by kings and queens, today the concept keeps the courts free of many lawsuits. If you don’t like what the government has done, you generally take your concerns to the ballot box, not the courtroom.
But what about those instances when the government’s negligence has injured someone? For these situations, states have enacted laws waiving sovereign immunity in certain instances. Missouri’s law, section 537.600 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, allows the state to be sued in instances involving dangerous conditions of government property. In practical terms, that could mean a poorly-designed road, bridge or overpass; an intersection without signage; a road in need of maintenance or a host of other issues involving government property.
A Balance of Justice and Public Services
The history of sovereign immunity in Missouri shows the efforts to balance the public’s need for justice with the government’s ability to provide basic services. In September of 1977, the Supreme Court of Missouri struck down all forms of sovereign immunity in the state, in the case of Jones v. State Highway Commission. Less than a year later, the General Assembly reinstated sovereign immunity, but carved out two important exceptions relating to traffic accidents: citizens may sue for dangerous conditions of government-owned property (roads and highways in particular) and negligent operation of motorized vehicles by government employees.
Initially, the Missouri Supreme Court interpreted these exceptions to apply only when the state had obtained liability insurance to protect itself against such lawsuits, but in 1985 the legislature acted again, adding language to the law indicating that the state could be sued regardless of whether it had insurance or not.

Read this on Carter Law of Troy, MO on Mar 10, 2010

To prevail in a lawsuit against MoDOT, the injured party must establish four things:
1. That the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury
2. That the injury directly resulted from the dangerous condition
3. That the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm of the kind of injury that was incurred
4. That a public entity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition in sufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition
The third and fourth elements have important implications for the general public. They say, in essence, that MoDOT must be aware of the dangerous condition and the harm that could come from it. Although governments have a responsibility to regularly inspect their highways, bridges, signage and other infrastructure, the public should also be vigilant about reporting problems when they are first noticed.
Other Important Considerations
Frequently, auto accidents are caused by more than one factor. For example, a negligent driver may rear-end another car, but the poorly-designed off-ramp on which they were driving may have contributed to the accident. Our legal system allows for a sharing of the responsibility in situations like this, which is called comparative negligence. In such situations, a court might hold the negligent driver responsible for 70 percent of the damages and find MoDOT responsible for the other 30 percent.
Because many parties may have contributed to an accident and there is a limit on damages that can be awarded against the state, its important to discuss the individual facts of any accident with an attorney, who can help sort out which parties may be responsible.
The public has an important role to play in ensuring traffic safety is a top priority for governments at every level. So if you see a problem with a road, bridge, sign or other traffic-related infrastructure, take the time to report it to authorities. You could be saving the life of someone you know. Additionally, if you or someone you know has been injured in any sort of accident, talk to an experienced lawyer who understands the legal responsibilities the government may have and can advise you on your own legal rights

Duane of United States on Mar 11, 2010

It sounds like the state could possibly be held liable for some accidents or deaths (depending on the circumstances of the accident). There's no doubt the state has been made aware of the dangerous conditions.

Sharon of Foristell, MO on Mar 14, 2010

I have lived in this area for about 40 years and the roads just get worse and worse. I personally know 5 people who have been killed as a direct result of no shoulders on the roads and the constant layering of new pavement. When I first moved out here, it wasn't good to go off the edge, but you didn't drop 3-8 inches when you did. Now, if you drop off the edge of the road, and try to get back on quickly, the tires catch and when you do get back on the road you are thrown into the lane of on-coming traffic. OK, you don't know anyone personally who has been killed or hurt - is it ok until you do? Who's child, husband, wife, mother or father will have to die to get this fixed? I certainly don't want it to be any of my loved ones and I bet you don't either.

me me of United States on Mar 14, 2010

ask obama for stimulus money to fix the problem. it has fixed everything else according to him.

Mary of Ashburn, VA on Mar 17, 2010

I have lived in the area for over 10 years.I love everything about the area except for these dangerous roads. The traffic has increased tremendously since we first moved here. People need to SLOW DOWN , DO THE SPEED LIMIT & QUIT FOLLOWING SO CLOSELY TO THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU. I drive the speed limit but yet have a parade of cars on my back every night at rush hour. The speed limit is 55mph, however it is also 45mph around the sharp turns. I am tired of worrying constantly about myself or one of my loved ones having an accident on these roads. I pass the roadside memorial to Bryan Frump everyday on HWY D & think of his life that was taken too soon. We do pay just as much taxes or more than Wildwood, Chesterfield, etc. It angers me that our roads are in the condition that they are in. What will it take for MODOT to allocate the funds to fix our roads? A family of four killed on their way to church one Sunday morning? OR a busload of elementary children injured or killed on their way home from school? These roads are a ticking time bomb & need to be fixed before someone else's life is cut short.

Terry of Lake Saint Louis, MO on Mar 24, 2010

Well to add to the frustration and commentary here, my son just rearended the back of a quarry dump truck. Why? It pulled out onto Hwy DD and was slowly inching its way up the hill when my son come down the hill and because of a slight curve in the road, didn't see it until it was too late. As he tried to stop, he veered into the oncoming lane of traffic as another quarry truck was coming over the hill. As he saw it coming at him, he hurried to get back into the proper lane again avoiding a head on and smashing against the back of the truck......no shoulders to help in this instance. I DO NOT DRIVE THESE ROADS FAST, matter of fact, normally have a train of vehicles behind me by the time I get to one end of the other of Highway D or DD.....especially on weekends when the VISITORS are in the area and I have done almost the same thing near the quarry area!!!

Mike D of O Fallon, MO on Mar 24, 2010

My wife spoke to the highway patrolman yesterday shortly after your son's accident, we're glad your son wasn't hurt physically. The highway patrolman stepped on the gravel MODOT put down and said "this isn't going to work, you need shoulders".
Terry wrote:
Well to add to the frustration and commentary here, my son just rearended the back of a quarry dump truck. Why? It pulled out onto Hwy DD and was slowly inching its way up the hill when my son come down the hill and because of a slight curve in the road, didn't see it until it was too late. As he tried to stop, he veered into the oncoming lane of traffic as another quarry truck was coming over the hill. As he saw it coming at him, he hurried to get back into the proper lane again avoiding a head on and smashing against the back of the truck......no shoulders to help in this instance. I DO NOT DRIVE THESE ROADS FAST, matter of fact, normally have a train of vehicles behind me by the time I get to one end of the other of Highway D or DD.....especially on weekends when the VISITORS are in the area and I have done almost the same thing near the quarry area!!!

Terry of Lake Saint Louis, MO on Mar 25, 2010

And then to top it off, MY SON got a ticket.....for careless driving!!! What complete BULLSHI&*T! Know any attorneys that want to fight this for us??? at a minimal cost?????
Mike D wrote:
My wife spoke to the highway patrolman yesterday shortly after your son's accident, we're glad your son wasn't hurt physically. The highway patrolman stepped on the gravel MODOT put down and said "this isn't going to work, you need shoulders".
<quoted text>

Terry of Lake Saint Louis, MO on Mar 25, 2010

I'm just saying it wasn't either of their faults....no one should have gotten a ticket....unless they want to give one to the quarry truck for not going minimum speed in addition to the one they gave my son. That quarry being at the bottom of two hills is the issue with NO SHOULDERS for accidents...I'm thinking they need to put in another lane there....that is the only way to fix THAT problem. The trucks being fully loaded, and even when they aren't, can't get up those hills at a speed that is safe for oncoming vehicles!!! The quarry truck my son hit was driven by Wildschuetz....a great family business and guys that we know personally....what a shame. They've hauled a many load of gravel out to us and can be called in a minutes notice. WE SURE WISH THEY WOULD GET THESE ROADS FIXED AND SAFE OUT HERE! THE STATE HAS DONE A FABULOUS JOB ON HIGHWAY 30 and 109....when is it our turn? I don't see pounded gravel on the sides of their roads like we have.

Tim of O Fallon, MO on Mar 25, 2010

I suspect everyone who drives DD in that direction in the morning has come upon one of those slow trucks and had to slam on the brakes, I know I have and I don't drive fast. Permanent solution: Put another lane for slow traffic; temporary solution: Lower the speed limit on the hill to 40 mph.
Terry wrote:
I'm just saying it wasn't either of their faults....no one should have gotten a ticket....unless they want to give one to the quarry truck for not going minimum speed in addition to the one they gave my son. That quarry being at the bottom of two hills is the issue with NO SHOULDERS for accidents...I'm thinking they need to put in another lane there....that is the only way to fix THAT problem. The trucks being fully loaded, and even when they aren't, can't get up those hills at a speed that is safe for oncoming vehicles!!! The quarry truck my son hit was driven by Wildschuetz....a great family business and guys that we know personally....what a shame. They've hauled a many load of gravel out to us and can be called in a minutes notice. WE SURE WISH THEY WOULD GET THESE ROADS FIXED AND SAFE OUT HERE! THE STATE HAS DONE A FABULOUS JOB ON HIGHWAY 30 and 109....when is it our turn? I don't see pounded gravel on the sides of their roads like we have.

Terry of San Mateo, CA on Mar 25, 2010

The doped limit there is 50mph.
Tim wrote:
I suspect everyone who drives DD in that direction in the morning has come upon one of those slow trucks and had to slam on the brakes, I know I have and I don't drive fast. Permanent solution: Put another lane for slow traffic; temporary solution: Lower the speed limit on the hill to 40 mph.
<quoted text>

Kathy of Ashburn, VA on Apr 6, 2010

I don't understand why the speed limits to these roads are not lowered. It seems that a lot of people are against lowering the speed limit & I am not sure why. I understand that one reason is because law enforcement has no where to pull any offenders over but the police have no where to pull people over now so what difference does it make.
I have driven these roads for a long time. There are so many sharp turns & hills that it seems safer to drive 45 mph per hour versus 55 mph. At dusk, I purposely drive these roads at 45 mph. About 6 months ago at dusk, a deer ran out in front of me .My choices were to hit the deer or swerve into oncoming traffic. I chose to hit the deer. My car did have slight damage & I had no injury. I feel that my driving 45 mph helped me to keep better control of my vehicle.
Until we can get shoulders, lower the speed limit. Lowering the speed limit will cost less than the millions that the shoulders will cost. My hope would be that the majority of people would adjust & drive the lower speed limit if it were changed.