A causeway in Warren County that would connect to the Highway 47 bridge has renewed support south of the Missouri River.
The Washington Area Transportation Committee Monday agreed to submit a letter backing the plan to seek BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) grant funding for the project.
The grant application deadline is July 19.
Preliminary plans call for an elevated roadway that could allow access between Washington and Warren County during major flooding like that which occurred in May 2017.
Last week, Warren County Commissioner Hubie Kluesner and Boonslick Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) Executive Director Chad Eggens met with the transportation committee to discuss their plans to seek BUILD grants to connect the bridge through low-lying land in southern Warren County during flooding,
For more than two days in May 2017 there was no connection to the bridge. The situation could be more dire if the levee near Treloar would break.
Last year, Kluesner and Eggens met with the committee without any plans. Now there is a funding mechanism that could help them achieve their goal.
About 13,000 people cross the Missouri River bridge daily, including 600 children on the north side of the bridge who attend classes in the Washington School District, as well as students who attend St. Francis Borgia Regional High School and other parochial schools.
A causeway would carry vehicles and pedestrians. Eggens noted that this project is ranked as a “high priority” within the Boonslick region.
Kluesner noted that the road could extend from the bridge into St. Charles County and meet in the area of Highway T. But, he stated that all plans are preliminary and the entities involved are considering all ideas.
That could include support from St. Charles County, Warren County, Franklin County and the city of Washington.
Missouri Department of Transportation Area Engineer said the East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWGW) could also be involved in the project because the project could impact Franklin County and other regions within EWGW.
“In my reading it (BUILD grant) identifies Washington as a prime candidate for this type of loan,” said Bill Straatmann, chairman of the transportation committee. “Not just Washington but the area. In your case Boonslick Regional.
“You are a smaller entity in a smaller community — there are paragraphs in that law that indicate they could pay as much as they chose to pay,” he added.
According to the federal Department of Transportation (DOT), through the BUILD grants Congress has dedicated nearly $5.6 billion for nine rounds of national infrastructure investments to fund projects that have a significant local or regional impact.
The eligibility requirements of BUILD allow project sponsors to obtain funding for multimodal, multi-jurisdictional projects that are more difficult to support through traditional DOT programs.
BUILD grants are previously known as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grants, which funded $10 million of the Highway 47 Missouri River bridge project.