The call for a Union transportation committee is gaining steam now that plans for a Highway 47 impact study continue.
Union aldermen have disagreed on if the city should fund $50,000 of an impact study along the Highway 47 corridor, and some have stated that the city already knows the biggest needs for improvements is the Highway 50 intersection.
Discussions on the study and the Highway 47 Corridor Committee have led to renewed talks in Union about a committee that would focus on the transportation needs within the city, and state roads leading to and from Union.
According to City Administrator Russell Rost, changes at the Highway 47 and Highway 50 intersections could affect nearby businesses.
There are no final plans to realign Highway 47 at Highway 50, nor funding for a major project, but discussions have included a bypass of Highway 50.
“The final design could impact businesses drastically,” Rost said. “Representatives of businesses should give input. There would be a lot of rerouting of the current intersections that could severely impact them.”
Union’s participation in the impact study has not been finalized, but if the city does participate, a city transportation committee could use those findings for future needs.
“I would be surprised if any study didn’t show the most significant issue on Highway 47 is at Highway 50,” Rost said.
The city of Washington formed a transportation committee more than 20 years ago to address issues and bring them to the attention of the Missouri Department of Transportation and other entities.
Franklin County also formed a transportation committee within the past 10 years.
Representatives of MoDOT attend the meetings at both the Franklin County and Washington committees, which would be a goal for the proposed Union committee.
Rost said he spoke to Washington Mayor Sandy Lucy who recommended that Union move forward with a committee.
Alderman Dustin Bailey Monday night, who suggested the formation of a committee in early September, said working with the state and pushing for funding could benefit Union in every direction.
“There are multiple areas we could work with the state, including Highway 50 to the east and Highway A to the north,” he said.
Bailey, and other aldermen, have expressed disappointment with MoDOT over the Flat Creek bridge replacement project on Highway 47 north of Main Street.
He explained that aldermen were expecting to give input into the project, and possibly participate in the work to broaden the scope, and possibly improve traffic flow in the area.
“We were given plans and told to take it or leave it,” he said. “We potentially could have given money to help.”
Last week, MoDOT Area Engineer Judy Wagner said the scope of work for the Flat Creek replacement project was a “preservation project” and was not intended to alleviate traffic at the Highway 50 intersection.
Alderman Bob Schmuke Monday said there could soon be talks of improvements to the Interstate 44 and Highway 50 intersection, which the city could participate in.
“It is kind of on their radar,” he said. “It is possible that the state may come to us and ask us to extend our city limits.”
He added that there already is one landowner in that area who has requested city sewer lines be extended to the interstate.
Rost has said that the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee was the driving force in getting a new Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River.
That committee also pushed for four lanes on Highway 100 east to Interstate 44, which the committee took to voters for funding through a sales tax.