Purina Plans New Access

A Franklin County man is upset because he says Purina Farms is going to start using a road he lives close to for access.

The man, Wayne White, said Purina will drive heavy loads of feed and hay on Decker Road to access the company’s Franklin County facility in Gray Summit. He is also worried that tour buses will start using Decker Road to get to Purina.

Purina wants to change its access point because the current one off State Highway MM requires crossing a railroad track, which can present a safety concern, County Highway Administrator Joe Feldmann said. A tunnel there can cause an issue with sight distance, Feldmann noted.

The county has approved a new access permit for Purina, Feldmann said.

White said the intersection of Decker Road and Highway 100 is already bad without adding the additional heavy traffic from Purina.

The new access will be about a quarter of a mile in a somewhat westerly direction from that intersection, Feldmann said. There are no improvements planned to that intersection, said Feldmann. It’s not a bad intersection, and there is plenty of visibility, he added.

However, Feldmann said people who use the road should make a point to be aware of the increased traffic from Purina.

As long as the new access meets the necessary geometric size and sight distances for the vehicles that will use it, then the permit is approved, Feldmann said.

White was upset that the residents who live around Decker Road were not notified about Purina’s new access plan.

There is no requirement that the county notify area property owners over an access change, Feldmann said.

There are apparently some people who live in the area who think the county can prevent Purina from having access off Decker Road, he said. That is not the case as long as the access permit meets the county’s requirements, Feldmann added.

White is also concerned that the heavy equipment from Purina could wear down Decker Road, which recently received a new asphalt overlay. It is a county-owned road, while Highway MM, which Purina has been using, is a state road.

Feldmann agreed that the impact on the road is a concern but that the county will keep an eye on it. There are no weight limits on county roads, he said.

The new access will still require a final inspection, Feldmann said.