Highway 47

A project to realign the north and south sections of Highway 47 at Highway 50 could carry a price tag close to $17 million.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and the city of Union have discussed the possibility of a major road project to realign and connect Highway 47.

The plan would eliminate the need for motorists to drive on Highway 50 to continue on Highway 47.

MoDOT provided a rough estimate of how much the project could cost based on its preferred alignment route. In an email to the city, MoDOT Area Engineer Judy Wagner said work could cost $16,864,080.

The project breakdown was presented to the board of aldermen at Monday’s personnel, finance and public works meeting. The project includes $5,667,000 for a new bridge over the Bourbeuse River, $8,208,080.21 for the roadway, $180,000 for utility relocation and $2,809,000 for right of way acquisition.

Wagner said the utility cost could increase by $1 million if a pipe needs to be relocated.

Union City Administrator Russell Rost said the project would be a 50/50 split between MoDOT and the city. He said if the city’s share was more than $8 million, it likely wouldn’t be feasible.

However, Rost said there is a possibility to get the city’s share of the project down to $1 million or lower.

Rost said he’s already had initial conversations with Franklin County about splitting the cost. If Franklin County assumed half of the city’s portion of the project, the city’s share would drop to around $4 million, he said.

That number could drop even further if both the city and county receive federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) grants. Rost said both groups could apply for 80-20 grants where the federal government picks up 80 percent of the projects cost.

Long Range Plan

If this proposed project does not come to fruition, it could be more than 20 years before the state addresses the intersection, if there is funding available at that time.

City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said the project is in MoDOT’s long term plans, but not until at least 2040.

“It’s not even on the distant horizon,” he said.

Zimmermann said there are multiple realignment options being considered, but this estimate was for the one MoDOT favors. He said this plan would reroute Highway 47 to the west of Dickey Bub Farm and Home.

Zimmermann told the committee a decision wasn’t needed Monday night. He said there are ongoing discussions involving Highway 47 and this project is just another piece of the puzzle. Committee Chairman Bob Schmuke expressed disappointment the city would be on the hook for any money. He said it’s a federal and state issue and should be worked out by those groups.

Mayor Mike Livengood said he thinks the project is worth pursuing. He said if the city’s share could get below $1 million, it may be feasible.

The board agreed to wait and see what happens with the other Highway 47 projects discussed. The board agreed to discuss the realignment again at a future meeting.

Corridor Committee

The Highway 47 Corridor Committee comprised of representatives from Franklin County, St. Clair, Union, Washington, MoDOT and others has been meeting regularly to look into traffic issues on the road.

The Highway 47 committee has commissioned a study to look at ways to make the 13-mile stretch between Washington and St. Clair better. The city of Union has long held the realignment at Highway 50 should be a top priority.

One other frequent suggestion for Highway 47 is to widen for additional lanes. Zimmermann said the alignment project could be part of that work.