Warren County will not get a federal grant to help build a new Augusta Bottom Road.
Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer, said she spoke recently with Eric Maninga, MoDOT area engineer for Warren, Lincoln and Montgomery counties. Maninga said he was told by Steve Etcher, executive director of the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission, that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) had rejected the agency’s application for the approximate $3 million federal disaster grant.
“No specific reason was given for the decision,” Wagner told members of the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee Monday. She said it likely was because there were numerous applications made for a share of $51 million that was allocated for a 10-state area.
Wagner said Etcher told Maninga that if another opportunity arises his agency will apply again for funds to build a new 1.9-mile section of road on the north side of the existing levee.
“He said he’ll keep his eyes open,” Wagner remarked.
Now, the issue basically falls back on Warren County, it was noted.
“Now, we’re left with few alternatives,” said Bill Straatmann, committee chairman.
Wagner said it is good that the regional planning agency got involved in the road issue and was able to get other local government entities to make commitments of support for the project.
“Now they already have support from the other entities,” she noted.
The best approach now is to “just keep applying” for grants, Wagner said, and eventually one will be approved.
In August, the Washington City Council expressed support for the project and agreed to provide up to $70,000 in matching funds. The city’s funds would have been applied toward building the section through what is known as the Augusta Parkway, which is bounded by large ponds left after the 1993 Missouri River flood.
The Warren County Commission also had agreed to put up a 20 percent match to build 1.6 miles of the 1.85-mile road, but indicated it would not contribute to the Augusta Parkway section which it claims is under the jurisdiction of the town of Augusta. Augusta agreed to dedicate $10,000 a year for three years.
Even though the road is not in Washington’s jurisdiction, the transportation committee has been pushing for improvements to the bottom road for many years because it serves as a vital link between Washington and areas of west St. Charles County, including Augusta.
Those efforts were intensified after a 16-year-old Washington girl died in late 2010 when she crashed her car into one of the large ponds along Augusta Parkway.
Warren County qualified to apply for the EDA grant because it had three disaster declarations last year.