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Can Cities Plow State-Owned Roads? Creve Coeur Has MoDOT's Blessing

City officials are trying to avoid the anger that comes when residents are upset about Olive Boulevard during snowstorms.

Last month's winter snowstorm that crippled traffic on main thoroughfares around the St. Louis area and in Creve Coeur could bring about a change in city policy to help Missouri Department of Transportation plowing efforts.

City officials praised the work done by city crews to clear city streets under Creve Coeur's jurisdiction, but Mayor Bary Glantz has pointed to residential frustration that main arteries, like Olive Boulevard and Lindbergh Boulevard, were impassable. The streets are state-owned road, meaning it is MoDOT's responsibility to clear them. But Glantz's concern is the residential perception that will hang the blame on Creve Coeur for problems with Olive and not the state.

In this most recent storm, the city did respond on Olive in cases where Police needed areas plowed to rescue people from vehicles. 

Monday night, city council members will discuss the result of conversations Creve Coeur's Public Works Director Jim Heines had with MoDOT officials after last month's storm.

Heines said the city now has MoDOT's blessing to plow a single right-most lane of state-owned roads while Creve Coeur crews are en route to their own routes. City staff will ask for council to back the idea Monday.

"We're not stopping anybody from doing that," MoDOT Assistant Engineer Tom Blair told Patch on Friday, speaking of professional city plow crews. Blair pointed to the unique nature of the February storm which forced municipalities to stay focused on clearing their main priority roads before they could move on to secondary routes. That meant MoDOT crews were knee-deep in clearing interstate highways like 270 before they got to other roads like Olive Boulevard, and Lindbergh.

"We will still be facing the perception issue and must be prepared for those phone calls," Heines said in an email to City Administrator Mark Perkins, talking about the perception that city crews would appear to be doing the state's job on the city's dollar. Heines noted that the move would not mean additional cost or divert time away from city routes.

Blair said some cities and counties already operate that way. "We'll take that help," he said.

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