Groundbreaking Ceremony

The city of St. Clair and the Missouri Department of Transportation conducted a joint groundbreaking ceremony for the North Outer Road relocation project at Interstate 44 and Highway 47 Friday morning. Dozens of individuals attended, including state, county and local officials. Addressing the audience and praising the project were Joeanna Middleton of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s office, State Rep. Dave Hinson, Franklin County Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer, St. Clair Mayor Ron Blum and MoDOT area engineer Judy Wagner. Pictured ready to turn shovels of dirt near the intersection of Miller and Peterson roads on the north side of St. Clair along the construction route are, from left, St. Clair Ward 2 Alderman Travis Dierker, St. Clair R-XIII School District Superintendent Mike Murphy, Blum, Wagner, Hinson, Ward 1 Alderman Nathan Tate, Ward 1 Alderman Zach Fuchs, Ward 2 Alderman Barb McGlenn and youngster Braden Tate.

The Missouri Department of Transportation has requested that St. Clair officials look into lowering the speed limit on Highway 47 on the north side of the city.

The request is in conjunction with the new signalized North Outer Road reconstruction project that will realign that road, move it to the north and add traffic signals at Highway 47 and Angels Crossing Drive as well as at the two Interstate 44 on and off ramps along Highway 47.

“We believe that a speed limit reduction is warranted,” MoDOT area engineer Judy Wagner said in a letter to St. Clair officials this month.

MoDOT is requesting the speed limit on Highway 47 on the north edge of St. Clair be lowered to 45 mph just north of Happy Sac Road and reduced again to 40 mph at Angels Crossing Drive. Currently, the speed limit along that portion of Highway 47 is 55 mph almost to the Burger King restaurant, where it lowers to 40 mph and continues to the traffic signal that intersects with Commercial Avenue and North Main Street.

“We believe this speed limit reduction is necessary for safety reasons at East Happy Sac Road and the North Outer Road,” Wagner said, adding that the limits of the proposed reductions would extend about 4,700 feet north of the westbound I-44 ramps, or about .9-mile on Highway 47.

“The 40 mph will be more consistent with the south side of I-44,” she told The Missourian. “Also, as you approach the signal you will reduce speed to 45 mph, this should decrease rear-end crashes approaching the signal.

During Monday’s board of aldermen meeting, Mayor Ron Blum brought up MoDOT’s request, and asked St. Clair Police Chief Bill Hammack his thoughts about the speed reduction.

“There will be some challenges with it,” Hammack said in reference to Highway 47 from Happy Sac to Angels Crossing.

The chief said that stretch of road contains no areas where police officers can sit in their patrol vehicles and perform stationary radar checks. But, Hammack said, if the city lowers the speed limit, his department will do its best to monitor it.

“My concerns are the safety at Happy Sac and into town,” Blum said.

“I agree,” Hammack said in response.

City Administrator Rick Childers said he will direct City Attorney Kurt Voss to draft an ordinance lowering the speed limit there and bring it to the board for consideration during a future meeting.

A groundbreaking ceremony on the project took place on Friday morning.