Construction of a new Missouri River bridge at Washington along with several other major projects in Franklin County are included in the draft of a new five-year State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
The 2013-2017 STIP includes transportation projects planned by state and regional planning agencies for the period from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2017.
The new document was presented Wednesday to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission which will accept public comments and input on the proposal until June 1.
The commission is expected to approve the final plan July 11 when it holds its monthly meeting in Washington.
Another major project included in the draft STIP is resurfacing of Highway A between Union and Washington. That project, on the drawing board for almost 10 years, includes adding 2-foot shoulders and other safety improvements.
Efforts to replace the existing Missouri River bridge, which is more than 75 years old, have been ongoing for the past several years. The news that the bridge is being included in the STIP is a major step forward that should lead to construction on the bridge starting at least by the end of 2017.
“There’s no closure yet, but a lot of things are in the hopper,” Bob Zick, chairman of the Missouri Highway 47 Bridge Committee, told the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee this week. The bridge committee has been spearheading efforts to get a new span.
Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer, told the group that the highways commission is expected to approve the STIP with the local projects.
“I can’t ever remember the commission not accepting what was recommended in the STIP.
Meanwhile, MoDOT is moving forward with seeking proposals from consulting firms to prepare preliminary engineering and design plans for the new bridge, which will be constructed just west, upstream, from the existing bridge. A contract is expected to be awarded in July. The preliminary design work is expected to cost about $500,000.
MoDOT officials hope to get word this month on its application for a $20 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant for the new bridge. If that grant is approved it would accelerate the project, Wagner said, but the grant funds must be appropriated by July 2013.
Following are the Franklin County projects listed in the draft STIP, the estimated total cost and the projected year for construction to begin:
• New Missouri River bridge at Washington — $61,747,000 (which includes $3,356,000 for engineering and design), 2016-2017.
• Highway A — Resurfacing of a 7.23-mile section plus curve and shoulder improvements, $4,085,000, 2013-14.
• Highway 47 — Widen and rehabilitate bridge over Flat Creek in Union, $4,599,000, 2014-15.
• Highway AT — Pavement improvements from Highway 50 to Highway 100, $2,106,000, 2014-15.
• Route YY — Bridge improvements over St. John’s Creek and Whiskey Creek, $2,177,000, 2015-16.
• Routes T, V and MM — Add guardrails at various locations, $596,000, 2014-15.
• Route AJ — Bridge improvements at St. John’s Creek, $611,000, 2015-16.
• Highway 100 — Improve and add left turn lane at the Highway MM intersection, $495,000, 2014-15.
MoDOT officials, in a prepared statement, said because of a drastic funding shortage, Missouri’s construction program has dropped from an average of $1.2 billion a year to about $700 million, which is barely enough to maintain the existing system.
In the last 10 years great progress was made to the state’s transportation system largely due to funds from the Amendment 3 bond issue program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“While MoDOT is pleased that we are able to incorporate these transportation projects (in Franklin County), there will be very few like these in the future,” Wagner said. “We simply no longer have the resources to tackle projects that enhance our transportation system.”
The draft STIP is available on MoDOT’s website, www.modot.org, and at MoDOT district and regional offices around the state.