ST. CHARLES – Motorists who regularly travel along Red Gate Road near St. Charles North High School should expect traffic changes once the bridge opens next month.
The changes – temporarily blocking a side road and having police direct traffic – are part of an effort to improve traffic flow near St. Charles North on school days, Public Works Director Mark Koenen said.
Red Gate Bridge will open to motorists Dec. 15. The suspended pedestrian and bicycle bridge should open in spring.
Even before the City Council approved the bridge, residents expressed concerns about the effects on traffic, such as motorists using their neighborhood as a shortcut.
To reduce cut-through traffic in residential subdivisions, southbound traffic on River Ridge Drive between Red Gate Road and River View Drive will be blocked on school days between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m.
Signs of the restriction will be posted at the intersections of Route 31 and Reserve Drive and River View Drive and River Ridge Drive.
River Ridge Drive is across from St. Charles North’s primary entrance and serves the Rivers Edge and The Reserves of St. Charles subdivisions.
“We respect the people that live in the subdivision,” St. Charles Police Chief Jim Lamkin said.
Police on school mornings also will direct traffic on Red Gate Road at the school entrance. Motorists familiar with that area have gotten into a habit of treating that area like a four-way stop, which could be dangerous once motorists begin using Red Gate Road, Koenen said.
By having an officer direct traffic, Lamkin said, the police department wants to change that habit and move traffic efficiently off Red Gate Road. He said traffic is not an issue in the afternoon.
The need for traffic signals in that area also is being evaluated, Koenen said.
Other measures were taken in summer. Red Gate Road was re-striped to create left-turn lanes for westbound traffic entering the school and eastbound motorists entering River Ridge Drive. Changes in the school parking lot have also improved traffic flow, Koenen said.