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Route 141 Safety Improvements at Ridgewood School

Route 141 at Ridgewood

What is the problem?

A lot of traffic uses Route 141 between Route 21 and Astra Way.  During peak periods in the morning and evening, there are a lot of vehicles turning onto the Route 21 outer roads, Ridgewood School Drive and Old Missouri State Road.  Due to the curves in the road on either side of Ridgewood and the speed of Route 141, drivers on Route 141 often cannot easily see traffic pulling across the roadway.  One of the big problems with the area is the number of vehicles that have to turn left with limited visibility.

On average, 30,000 vehicles use this stretch of Route 141 daily.  Recently, a number of parents and students signed a petition to install a traffic signal on Route 141 and Ridgewood School Road, however a traffic signal at Ridgewood School Road is not a safe solution. 

MoDOT engineers have come up with a solution that will address the problem and that is much safer.

Why is putting a signal at Ridgewood School Road unsafe?

Ridgewood School Road is on a curve on Route 141.  Since it is on a curve, that makes it hard to see when traffic is backed up.  During fog, rain or snow, having stopped or slowed traffic on a curve could be dangerous. In addition, a signal at Ridgewood School would really only impact the traffic heading into and out of the school and off Ellis Grove.  Traffic at the school is heavy only when school starts and ends.  The rest of the time, signals at the school would need to flash.  Since the signal would not need to be in operation full time, it would have little effect on what drivers on Route 141 would expect.  In addition, because it is around a curve in the road, it may create a greater chance of crashes in the morning or evening as traffic comes across slowed or stopped traffic on Route 141.

What is the proposed solution?

Proposal placeholder

The proposed solution has several parts, each of which needs to be completed to improve the safe flow of traffic along the corridor, to include the Ridgewood School Road.

  • Put a signal at the crossing of Route 141 and Old Missouri State Road. Since there are a lot of residences that access Route 141 from Old Missouri State Road, this signal would be active at all times and would provide predictability for drivers on Route 141. Given a short period of time to learn the new traffic patterns, they would know that traffic might be slowed at Old Missouri State Road. In addition, Route 141 is fairly straight in that area, so drivers will be able to see if traffic is slowed or stopped in front of them in plenty of time to stop.
  • Eliminate the left turn from Ridgewood School to northbound Route 141. With the two curves on Route 141 on either side of Ridgewood School, drivers on Route 141 have less time to respond to those drivers turning left out of the school. Traffic will still be able to turn left into the school from Route 141.
  • Build an offset right turn lane from southbound Route 141 to the school. This will give traffic turning left from northbound Route 141 some space to enter the school driveway without being affected by traffic turning right from southbound Route 141.
  • Build a U-turn lane on southbound Route 141 at Old Missouri State road wide enough to allow school busses to make that U-turn. In addition, rebuild the left turn from northbound Route 141 at Old Missouri State Road to avoid U-turning traffic.
  • Eliminate the left turn from the west Outer 21 road to northbound Route 141.

How does the U-turn lane help/work?

The U-turn on Old Missouri State Road may not be familiar to drivers along this stretch of Route 141, but it is a safe and effective method of helping traffic cross the road. Here's a video showing how this type of U-turn lane helps with traffic crossing over multiple lanes of traffic such as the roadway here at Route 141 and Ridgewood School Drive.

MoDOT built this type of U-turn on Route M at Old Lemay Ferry Road. There were a significant number of crashes on Route M which had limited distance to see slowed or stopped vehicles. The department eliminated the location where drivers could turn left at those roadways and replaced them with U-turns east and west of the roadways. Since MoDOT built the U-turn in 2008, we have had no fatalities and a significant reduction in crashes at that location.


How much will this cost and is it funded?

Engineers estimate that all improvements will cost about $800,000.  At this time, no funding has been identified by either MoDOT or the school district to construct this project.

Who Do I Contact For More Information?

Contact MoDOT Franklin/Jefferson County Area Engineer Judy Wagner at 314-453-5021 or by e-mail at Judy.Wagner@modot.mo.gov


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