Major milestones in transportation and infrastructure marked a booming economic year in Washington.

While addressing the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce membership Thursday, Sal Maniaci, city community and economic development director, touched on highlights from 2018, including completion of the Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River, Bluff Road improvements and the expansion of subdivisions in Washington.

“Thanks to a lot of the people in this room 2018 was a successful year for Washington,” he said.

“We hit some major milestones with infrastructure expansion,” he noted. “Our building department saw a substantial increase in permits and we have kept steady economic growth with a number of industries announcing expansions and renovations.”

The economic development report was given during the Chamber’s annual business breakfast meeting at the KC Hall.

“I think the most obvious achievement to start with is the recent completion of the Highway 47 Missouri River Bridge,” he said. “The $63 million project was completed safely and on schedule.

“Mayor Sandy Lucy, Judy Wagner of MoDOT (Missouri Department of Transportation) and Bob Zick and his bridge committee worked tirelessly for years to get this project started, and because of them we were able to complete something we can all truly be proud of,” Maniaci added. “Commuters will now be able to comfortably make the trip between Franklin and Warren counties, and the new weight capacity will allow more industries in the region to quickly and safely reach Interstate 70.”

An impact to local industries within the city’s infrastructure was the completion of a Bluff Road overlay project, which replaced a failing culvert and made the Bluff Road and Highway 100 intersection safer and more effective, he said.

“Thanks to our local developers, we saw continued expansion of our local roadways to make connections that are designated in our master plan,” Maniaci noted.

Increases in residential construction also were made in 2018, and provide new connections for motorists.

“With new and expanding subdivisions like The Overlook at Weber Farms connecting Washington Heights Drive to Rabbit Trail and Stone Crest connecting to Phoenix Center II, citizens will now be able to efficiently travel to and from their homes and emergency services will now have better access to residents,” Maniaci noted.

Sales Tax

Another milestone last year, Maniaci continued, was the passage of the half-cent capital improvement sales tax.

He credited the support of the Chamber and “community at large” for the overwhelming passage of the tax.

“This half-cent sales tax is able to fund a number of capital projects that better enhance the city’s infrastructure but, over the next eight years, will also fund major projects like a roof for the main stage at the fairgrounds and a new aquatic center,” Maniaci stated.

“On behalf of the city I would like to give a big thank you to all of you that supported us in renewing the tax.”

The tax is estimated to generate about $2.2 million annually, and between $16 and $16.5 million will be used for capital projects over the eight-year term of the tax.

Projects proposed with the tax revenue include a new pool, estimated at $4 million. The city’s current pool is aging and on its last legs.

Other projects include storm siren replacements, a new fire station, a new fire truck, Phase 2 of the skate park, a new Krog Park playground, a storage facility for public works and the parks department, sanitary sewer slip lining, a roof for the main stage, Ronsick Field improvements, paver replacement for downtown intersections, new light standards downtown, a paving project for a new riverfront park, rehabilitation of the city auditorium and several other projects.