Fleeing St. Louis



"It's an earthquake! Lemme outta here!"
Much has been made lately on plans for building additional highway lanes across the Mississippi River. The most feasible proposal would have the State of Illinois and the federal government paying $450 million to add lanes to the Martin Luther King Bridge. But Missouri officials don't like that idea. They want a $1 billion signature bridge paid for by government and private investors.

In both cases bridge proponents agree that more lanes are needed to relieve gridlock entering St. Louis. (Funding for the signature bridge is based on the notion that folks will actually pay a toll for the privilege of entering St. Louis.)

But never mind entering St. Louis. What about getting the hell outta Dodge?

A report card from the American Highway Users Alliance recently awarded St. Louis a C- when it comes to evacuation preparedness. Commissioned following the evacuation of New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina, the study rated cities on the criteria of exit capacity, internal flow and automobile access.

St. Louis' score of 70.6 (out of a possible 100) ranked just four percentage points higher than New Orleans. Kansas City earned the only A in the report, with a score of 90. That'll no doubt make our brethren to the west rest easy. Here in the Gateway City, we'll just have to hope we get some form of new bridge before the next big one hits.

-Chad Garrison