The Missouri Department of Transportation plans to open bids by the end of this year and construct the long-awaited Highway A improvement project in 2014.

Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer, confirmed that tentative timetable Friday.

MoDOT plans to add 2-foot shoulders and resurface the highway from Chamber Drive at Washington to just north of Independence Drive in Union. Other safety improvements will include guardrails in certain areas and improved stormwater drainage facilities.

The work is projected to cost a total of $4,085,000. The construction cost estimate is $3.54 million.

Last July, the project was included in the 2013-17 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

The project also is listed in the 2013-16 federal Transportation Program (TIP) that was approved by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the planning agency for the St. Louis Metropolitan region.

In December, MoDOT held a public meeting at the St. Gertrude Parish Center to obtain citizen input on the project.

More than 150 people attended the five-hour open house meeting and over 46 comments were received about various aspects of the project, Wagner reported at this week’s meeting of the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee.

Most of the comments involved individual properties along the highway, Wagner said. A big concern was in regards to stormwater drainage.

The only negative comments were about the plan to add rumble stripes along the edges of the highway to warn motorists, Wagner said. Some people felt the noise would keep them awake at night.

Several people commented that they would like to see the highway widened more, and several noted the need for traffic signals or advance warning lights at Highway A and Highway YY. Some suggested making that intersection a three-way stop.

No funds are in the budget for warning lights at this time, Wagner said, and the intersection does not meet warrants for traffic signals or stop signs because there is not sufficient traffic except at peak times in the morning and afternoon.

MoDOT will maintain the current 11-foot-wide traffic lanes, she explained.

State and local officials have been pushing for improvements along the highway for many years.

In July 2005, the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee drafted a letter urging MoDOT to find funds for safety improvements along Highway A.

In 2009, Franklin County applied for $3,096,910 in economic stimulus funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for Highway A. That project, however, was among 17 applications by local government entities in the county that were not approved for funding.