The Missouri Department of Transportation is taking a strong look at building 10-foot-wide paved shoulders along both sides of Highway 47 in Warren County to connect Franklin County to the Katy Trail at Dutzow, a MoDOT official said.

The wider shoulders could be “easily maintained” by MoDOT and would serve as a multi-use path to accommodate wider farm equipment during crop seasons, Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer, told the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee Monday.

Ten-foot shoulders would match the 10-foot-wide biking/walking path planned to be built on the west side of a new Missouri River bridge, Wagner pointed out.

Construction of the new bridge is scheduled for 2017-18 in the current State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP).

Last year there were discussions about constructing a 10-foot-wide biking/hiking trail adjacent to Highway 47, but that was later dropped because MoDOT is not in the business of maintaining trails, Wagner noted. Also, an application for an enhancement grant was denied.

MoDOT, however, could maintain the paths as part of the highway shoulders, she explained.

Highway 47 is scheduled for resurfacing next year from Washington to Warrenton. That project will include paving the current 6-foot-wide shoulders, which now are gravel, from the bridge to Dutzow.

“We’re analyzing how much it will cost to make those (shoulders) 10 feet wide in the future,” Wagner said. “We haven’t found the money yet.”

Wagner told The Missourian that officials hope the widening of the shoulders to 10 feet would take place by the time the new bridge is completed.

The new bridge will be designed with a structure at the north end to carry hikers and bikers from the bridge path under the span to the path on the east side of Highway 47. That structure will be lighted.

The idea was presented to the local committee members who are studying and will recommend enhancements for the new bridge and they are “much in favor of that,” Wagner told transportation committee members.

A big concern is the crossing on Highway 47 at Highway 94, Wagner said.

“We’ll be analyzing all of that,” she remarked. “We’d like feedback on this proposal. We do think that this will be a safe way to connect to the trail.”