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updated: 11/27/2012 3:51 PM

Traffic still a problem as Red Gate bridge prepares to open

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  • Work continued through the fall on the Red Gate Bridge that will eventually span the Fox River just East of St. Charles North.

       Work continued through the fall on the Red Gate Bridge that will eventually span the Fox River just East of St. Charles North.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

Commuters who drive near St. Charles North High School when classes are in session know they have to factor in a lengthy backlog at Red Gate Road into their drive times.

That backlog may grow with the opening of the new Red Gate Bridge to vehicle traffic Dec. 15. But city officials have some possible solutions in mind.

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The pavement was already striped on Red Gate Road. And St. Charles Unit District 303 changed the layout of the school parking lot to assist with the traffic flow. But Public Works Director Mark Koenen said that hasn't solved all the issues.

"You still have some cars stacking up westbound," Koenen said. "And the eastbound stacking is considerable. We believe when the Red Gate Bridge opens that stacking will still exist."

One of the major issues is commuters headed to the school have created their own four-way stop. To address that, St. Charles police plan to post an officer to temporarily direct traffic during the morning rush. Police also plan on closing off River View Drive to southbound traffic from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. to discourage the transformation of the subdivision into a cut-through for commuters trying to get to the front of the line when heading to the high school.

A more long-term answer would be the creation of another traffic signal and turn lane to the school as commuters approach from the west. But that will take some time and money before it becomes a reality. The ultimate answer is really a school district responsibility, Koenen said.

"The issue is there is one primary access site to the school," he said. "We're still going to have that backup there until the district decides it has the means to provide another access to the high school. Until then, we will try everything reasonably possible to promote a safe environment.

City officials are putting the final touches on the Red Gate Bridge. The main deck is already poured. Traffic signals are still being installed, but the bridge is on schedule to open Dec. 15. The pedestrian bridge will not be complete until the spring.

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