The city is one step closer to obtaining a grant to upgrade Bluff Road and the intersection at Highway 100.

City Engineer Dan Boyce told city council members Monday night that the review staff with the East-West Gateway Council of Governments is recommending approval of the city’s application.

Final approval by the East-West board of directors is expected July 31, Boyce said.

The East-West board, with representatives from counties in eastern Missouri and western Illinois, is responsible for awarding federal highway administration grants for various projects.

Over the years, the city of Washington has received many grants through the agency to make improvements to major roadways.

The total cost of the Bluff Road improvement project is estimated at $825,000. The city has applied for a $660,000 Surface Transportation Program (STP) grant. The city would pay the balance of the costs.

The project will include a 4-inch asphalt overlay from Highway 100 to the city limits beyond Vossbrink Drive.

The project also will include grade improvements at the Highway 100 intersection, the addition of a right turn lane from Bluff onto westbound Highway 100 and the addition of 2-foot shoulders and guardrails along a portion of the road north of Highway 100.

The target for the project is 2017.

Boyce explained that the federal grants follow a three-year cycle, with engineering and design work done the first year, right of way acquisition in the second year and construction in the third year.

City Administrator Jim Briggs told the council that if they wanted to put the project on a faster track, the city would have to pay the full cost and give up the approximate 75 percent in STP funds.

The council previously approved a resolution authorizing the engineering staff to apply for the STP grant.