Last week’s major snowstorm that walloped this area delayed the start of preliminary work for the Highway A widening project.

MoDOT had planned for work to begin Monday, Jan. 6, on replacing stormwater drainage culverts along Route A, between Union and Washington.

That was the day after the storm dumped between 10 inches and a foot of snow on the area.

Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer, said MoDOT crews may begin the culvert replacement work in the next week or so, depending on the weather.

“We are still working on repairing equipment from the snow fight,” Wagner said this week.

Once work begins on installing new drainage pipes under the road, motorists need to plan on making detours, as crews will be completely closing the highway where work is being done.

MoDOT encourages drivers to use Highway 47 as an alternate route during this preliminary construction work.

Work will begin at the south end, near Union, and extend north toward Washington. MoDOT anticipates the preliminary work should be completed by February, weather permitting.

Installation of new drainage facilities is being done in preparation for more major improvements scheduled later this year.

MoDOT plans to add 2-foot shoulders and resurface the highway from Chamber Drive at Washington to just north of Independence Drive in Union.

Other safety improvements will include guardrails in certain areas.

The work is projected to cost a total of $4,085,000. The construction cost estimate is $3.54 million.

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) approved by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the planning agency for the St. Louis Metropolitan region.

The project is designed to preserve the approximately eight-mile section of roadway which has seen a major increase in traffic in recent years.

According to MoDOT traffic counts, the highway carries approximately 4,340 vehicles per day at the Union end. That number climbs to more than 10,200 vehicles daily at Washington.

State and local officials have been pushing for improvements to Highway A for many years.

In July 2005, the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee drafted a letter urging MoDOT to find funds to make safety improvements.

The preliminary design does not include improvements at the Highway YY intersection.

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.