An agreement is being negotiated that could lead to a resolution on the controversial Augusta Bottom Road.
Representatives from St. Charles and Warren County declined to discuss specific details about the proposed agreement or when it would be finalized.
St. Charles County counselor Harold Ellis said those involved in recent discussions include representatives of St. Charles County, Warren County and Augusta, along with property owners along Augusta Bottom Road. “I think we have made progress,” Ellis told The Missourian.
Members of the Warren County Commission also agreed that a resolution appears to be near, according to reports from the county’s attorney.
Improvements to the road, which is primarily used by motorists traveling to and from St. Charles County and Washington, have been debated for decades.
A portion of the road is located in Warren County and is gravel, while another section located in St. Charles County is paved with asphalt.
Concerns over the condition of the road were rekindled in 2010 when Ella Neier, a Washington teenager, died when the car she was driving skidded off a section of the road and crashed into a pond formed by floodwaters along the roadway.
A sign was recently posted along the road near the St. Charles-Warren County line criticizing Warren County officials and was featured in a television report Sunday evening.
The sign read: “You are leaving a Class A county (St. Charles County) and entering a no class county (Warren County). It’s a rough road ahead.”
The sign was taken down by Monday morning. It was unknown who posted or removed it.
“I do not agree with it,” Warren County Presiding Commissioner Arden Engelage said referring to the sign.
Augusta Bottom Road remains open and is used on a daily basis by motorists, though signs are posted stating that a portion of it is closed.
Warren County commissioners this week reiterated their position that they will only maintain the portion of Augusta Bottom Road between Augusta Parkway and Highway 47. They contend Augusta Parkway is under the jurisdiction of Augusta, which received a federal grant to repair that section of the roadway that was washed out by the 1993 Missouri River flood.
“We acknowledge the road is in Warren County,” Engelage said. “We will maintain the levee portion. We always have and it will remain gravel.”
Warren County, St. Charles County and the city of Washington were sued in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Neier’s parents. The case is still pending in Warren County Circuit Court. Franklin County and Three Creeks Village, also named as defendants, were dismissed from the lawsuit last year.
A confidential settlement between the city of Augusta, another defendant in the case, and Neier’s parents was reached last year.
Neier’s parents allege that the defendants failed to properly maintain and improve the roadway, leading to the fatal crash.