Plans for a widened Highway 50 to Interstate 44 are still waiting a funding source, while work on other portions of the roadway in Missouri is under way.
Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) officials broke ground Oct. 15, for the widening of nearly seven miles of Highway 50 in Osage County.
The highway will be widened to four driving lanes from the U.S. 63 junction to west of Linn. The $25.5 million project is scheduled to be completed by September 2014, according to an Associated Press report.
Now, Highway 50 is two lanes from Interstate 44 west to east of Progress Parkway. The highway is two lanes from Union west to Loose Creek, located east of Jefferson City, and four lanes throughout Jefferson City to California, Mo. West of California, Highway 50 is two lanes until Sedalia where it is four lanes west to Kansas City.
Highway 50 passes through seven counties between Sedalia and Union.
After the seven-mile stretch in Osage County is complete, there will be no funding available for additional widening of the 91 miles of two-lane Highway 50.
That includes Highway 50 east of Progress Parkway to I-44, as well as the highway west of Union throughout Franklin and Gasconade counties.
MoDOT Area Engineer Judy Wagner said there is no funding available for an additional expansion of the highway.
“Nothing else is planned,” she told The Missourian. “Funding seems to be the holdup.”
Union City Administrator Russell Rost said the city is part of a “Highway 50 Partnership,” but that group has not met since November 2010.
The group is seeking MoDOT funding to widen the road to four lanes the entire stretch from Sedalia to I-44.
Representatives of the group have said the project is justified because Highway 50 could act as a bypass for future construction on Interstates 70 and 44.
Rost added that he has made efforts to contact those spearheading the partnership, but his emails and phone calls have not been returned.
He noted that the city has met with Wagner to discuss design option of the Highway 50 and I-44 interchange. Funding is also not available for that project.
“We last met a year ago and looked at design options,” Rost said. “We were looking at different configurations for building a new interchange at 50 and 44.”
Phase I of a Highway 50 project was completed in 2010 and added three lanes on Highway 50, including one eastbound lane, one westbound lane and a turn lane. The project was a partnership between the city of Union, Franklin County and MoDOT.
In an agreement between the city and MoDOT prior to work on Phase I of the Highway 50 widening project, the entities agreed a second phase of work would extend the improvements to I-44.
The cost has been estimated at $88 million for Phase II which includes interchange work, and would include a local match.
“We still have an active agreement to do Highway 50,” Rost said, “it just hasn’t been acted on because of lack of funding.”
Upgrades to the Highway 50 corridor from Progress Parkway to I-44 is slated for funding in the draft of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments 2031-40 investment priority plan.
If the Highway 50 project is funded by the state as requested by the Highway 50 Partnership, Union may not be responsible for its portion of Phase II of the project.
Wagner has noted that she is continuing to look into upgrades at the Highway 50 and Highway AT intersection, but funding is not available for that project either.
She described the area as a “dangerous” intersection.