A Union alderman said he regrets his public criticism of a state highway official who he thought snubbed a city committee.
Alderman Dustin Bailey questioned why Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Area Engineer Judy Wagner was not at the city’s personnel, finance and public works committee meeting Monday night.
According to the city’s agenda, Wagner was slated to appear before the committee to present Highway 47 improvement plans.
“It’s frustrating,” Bailey said Monday. “It feels like we are not being represented.”
However, Wagner was not asked to attend the meeting, said City Administrator Russell Rost.
He explained that he was under the impression that City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann asked Wagner to attend the meeting.
“I assumed that Jonathan had talked to her, and he assumed that I had,” said Rost.
Bailey apologized for his statements after hearing that Wagner was not asked to attend Monday’s meeting.
“I was under the impression that Judy knew she was supposed to be present and did not show up, which was obviously wrong,” he said. “I am sorry for holding Judy responsible for something of which she was not aware.”
Monday night Bailey said that Wagner was slated to attend a city meeting four times and has attended once.
Bailey added that Wagner regularly attends transportation committee meetings in the city of Washington, and has presented information to that committee about Highway A, which also impacts the city of Union.
Wagner told The Missourian that she has been asked to attend one Union committee meeting.
“I also was not aware that she serves on the Washington Area Transportation Committee which is why she reports to them on a frequent basis,” Bailey said. “I am sorry if I offended.
“My intent was only to represent those who would be very concerned with this project and other MoDOT projects in our area,” he added.
There are plans to widen Highway 47 from Highway 50 to just north of Old County Farm Road. The work, slated to begin in 2015, includes the addition of lanes to north of the bridge over Flat Creek.
Aldermen were sent plans for the project. After reviewing the plans, Bailey said he is seeking more information about the project.
“Essentially, I wanted to ask questions that I think my constituents would ask or consider,” he said. “I think their input should help shape the planned improvements as much as is financially feasible.
“I understand that the timetable for these project improvements is approaching and my hope is to iron out any details before things proceed too far.” Bailey added.
Specifically, Bailey questioned if pedestrian traffic will be addressed during the Highway 47 improvements.
“My main questions about this project revolve around pedestrian friendly improvements. I did not see any noted on the plans and wanted clarification,” he told The Missourian. “My hope is that those who do not drive still have options to get to their desired destinations safely.”
He added that bike lanes should be added at the Highway 47 and Highway 50 intersection.
“My hope is that the concerns are still considered and the city of Union and MoDOT can continue to work together to address transportation needs within our area,” Bailey said.
He also questioned how the Highway 47 improvements would be tied into future plans to improve the Old County Farm Road intersection.