Within a couple of years, motorists should be driving on a smoother, safer Highway A between Washington and Union.

Funding for the project is in the latest Missouri Department of Transportation’s State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

Members of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved the 2013-17 STIP when it held its monthly meeting in Washington last week.

The Highway A project also is listed in the draft federal Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for 2013-16 which is scheduled to be presented for adoption next Wednesday, July 25, to the executive board of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the regional planning agency for the St. Louis metropolitan region.

The new STIP calls for construction of improvements, projected to cost $4,085,000, in 2014-15.

The project is designed to preserve that section of roadway — which has seen a major increase in traffic in recent years — as well as add 2- to 3-foot shoulders, soften curves, add guardrails where needed and improve drainage facilities.

State and local officials have been discussing improvements along the eight-mile stretch for many years.

In July 2005, the transportation committee drafted a letter urging MoDOT to find funds for safety improvements along Highway A.

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.

Last summer, work crews made pavement repairs along the entire stretch between Union and Washington.

Surveying work for the major improvement project is continuing this summer.

Other Franklin County projects currently in the design phase, which were approved in the final STIP include:

Replacement of the Route YY bridge over St. John’s Creek and replacement of a Whiskey Creek box culvert, $2,177,000;

Installation of a new deck on the Route AJ bridge over St. John’s Creek, $611,000;

Improvements at the Route MM/Highway 100 intersection at Gray Summit, $495,000;

Safety improvements along Routes T, V and MM, $596,000; and

Pavement improvements along Route AT, from Highway 50 to Highway 100, $2,106,000.