A whirlwind of events in the last few weeks has put the city of Washington in the spotlight and true to past form, the city and its residents shined.

That assessment comes from members of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission who were in and around Washington the early to middle part of this week for the opening of the new $63 million Highway 47 bridge, a reception and monthly meetings.

On Wednesday, the six-member commission was hosted by the city and used the council chamber to hold its traveling meeting for December.

In the months the Missouri Legislature is in session (January to May), the commission meets in Jefferson City and in the remaining months (June to December) the commission travels the state to hold its meetings where it is invited.

Commission Chairman Gregg Smith said the red carpet was rolled out and the welcome by the city and Mayor Sandy Lucy was above and beyond.

Other commission members, some of whom had never been to Washington before, echoed Smith’s comments and said they were very impressed with the hospitality and the residents. 

In addition to their impression of the city, the commission heaped high praise on Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Area Engineer Judy Wagner.

As area engineer, Wagner has been a fixture of Franklin and Jefferson County road projects for nearly a decade and has been instrumental in working as an intermediary between MoDOT and local communities.

In addition to dozens of smaller projects in Franklin County, Wagner has been front and center on the new bridge, the ongoing Highway 47 committee and the Highway 100 widening project completed in 2010.

Wagner was presented a Leadership in Action coin by chairman Smith at the meeting Wednesday.

“This area loves you,” Smith told Wagner. “That was very obvious Saturday (at the bridge opening). I am very proud of you and all you do for MoDOT.”

Again, Smith’s comments were echoed by the other five commission members who all spoke very highly of the bridge ceremony and Wagner’s role in the commission’s visits to Washington.

Wagner reciprocated by telling the men it was an honor to work with such wonderful commissioners who are in touch with communities and interested in their well-being.