By Gregg Jones

Union Missourian Editor

Plans call for improvements of Highway 47 in Union, but there are still questions about the extent of road widening.

City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said he will meet with Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) officials in January to further discuss highway upgrades.

Improvements on Highway 47 near Flat Creek are included in the 2013-2016 TIP (Transportation Improvement Program) — a plan which only covers the St. Louis region.

According to the TIP, the cost is $4,599,000 with a federal grant of $3,667,200 and a state match of $916,800;

Zimmermann told the city’s parks, building, development and public service committee that there still are questions about the improvements that need to be answered.

“How far north do the plans for improvement go?” asked Zimmermann.

The city also is looking at a different project to relocate Old County Farm Road, which intersects 47 near the Flat Creek bridge.

One option that is favored by city staff members is to close the Old County Farm Road and Highway 47 intersection, and reroute the road to the north at Peters Lane.

Then extend East Park Road on the west side of Highway 47 and make a new intersection with an extended Peters Lane.

Peters lane is located off of Rock Road.

In 2010, Zimmermann said the construction of that intersection was recommended to be performed in the city’s last transportation plan developed in 1999.

A Peters Lane intersection would give better access from Highway 47 to businesses, including UPS, and residents off Rock Road and Old County Farm Road, officials said.

Alderman Vicki Hooper asked Zimmermann if residents along Peters Lane and East Park Road are in favor of the intersection.

“The Special Road District said they (residents along Peters Lane and Rock Road) are in favor of it,” Zimmermann said. “I don’t know about East Park Lane.”

He further explained that representatives of the Union Special Road District east of Union have said that they would commit funds for work on Peters Lane to the city limits.

Zimmermann added that when construction was first discussed in 1999, construction of a bridge over Flat Creek would cost $500,000.

The cost is much higher today.

“To make that affordable we will have to apply for federal funding,” Zimmermann said.

In order to receive federal Surface Transportation Program funding, city streets must be designated as urban collectors or arterial streets, he noted.

The urban collectors within the city limits are West Park Road, Church Street, Springfield Avenue, Prairie Dell Road, Denmark Road, College Road and Main Street. There are two “minor arterial” streets in the city — Washington Avenue and Independence Drive.

Other roads are designated as “local roads.”

East Park Road and Peters Lane would have to be designated as collector streets in order to apply for federal funds.