Almost 150 people turned out to view maps and plans at an open house meeting on the proposed Highway A improvement project.
The five-hour open house was held Tuesday, Dec. 18, at the St. Gertrude Parish Center and provided a chance for residents along the highway to get more specific information and provide input to MoDOT officials.
“Generally, the comments were positive and that the improvements were long overdue,” said Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer.
Wagner said most of the people were concerned about how the project will affect their yards and driveways.
“Overall, it was a great turnout, a great discussion and a lot of information sharing,” Wagner said.
MoDOT personnel are compiling written comments provided at the meeting and should have a summary report available within a couple of weeks, Wagner said.
The state is planning to resurface the highway, add 2-foot shoulders where possible, add guardrails and make other safety improvements along the approximate eight-mile section from Chamber Drive in Washington to north of Independence Drive at Union.
Last July, the project was included in the 2013-17 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
The project also is listed in the 2013-16 federal Transportation Program (TIP) that was approved by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the planning agency for the St. Louis Metropolitan region.
Wagner said there are 80-plus property owners along Highway A who may be affected by the project.
The project is designed to preserve that section of roadway — which has seen a major increase in traffic in recent years — as well as add 2- to 3-foot shoulders, soften curves, add guardrails where needed and improve drainage facilities.
The work is projected to cost a total of $4,085,000, according to the STIP. The construction cost estimate is $3.54 million.
There are no funds in the project budget to purchase right of way, which means that some areas may not get shoulders added if property owners refuse to dedicate easements or right of way.
State and local officials have been pushing for improvements along the highway for many years.
In July 2005, the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee drafted a letter urging MoDOT to find funds for safety improvements along Highway A.
In 2009, Franklin County applied for $3,096,910 in economic stimulus funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for Highway A. That project, however, was among 17 applications by local government entities in the county that were not approved for funding.