State transportation officials began meeting this week with stakeholders on a project to improve a section of Highway 47 between Warrenton and Marthasville, known as Hopewell Hill.
The meetings are the next step in a process that officials hope will lead to a consensus on long-awaited improvements to a treacherous stretch of highway that features several sharp curves.
Two representatives of the Northeast District of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) — Erik Maninga, area engineer, and Chris Knapp, transportation project manager — gave an update Monday to the Warren County Commission.
Meetings also were scheduled to be held this week with residents of Coventry subdivision and Aspenhof subdivision, which are on either side of the roadway along Hopewell Hill.
“We want to take into account the comments and try to tailor it to what is wanted by the public and make it a better project,” Knapp remarked.
He added that MoDOT officials are serious about taking recommendations offered by area residents and officials into consideration as the final stages of the planning process develop.
Knapp said MoDOT’s goal is to “reach as many people as possible.”
An official public announcement on the plan which will be submitted to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission will be made after MoDOT officials have shown the preliminary plan to those who will be most impacted.
Maninga said the proposal could be altered slightly before the official announcement is made. He said MoDOT hopes to make its announcement by the end of the month.
The plan favored by MoDOT officials calls for realigning the roadway to eliminate two S curves, providing 11-foot driving lanes and adding 4-foot shoulders.
The current plan is slightly different from a similar option presented in October, Knapp noted, explaining that the current proposal calls for moving a section of the realigned roadway approximately 60 feet west of the original alignment.
Knapp said this was done to help lessen the impact on residents of Coventry subdivision. However, he noted that additional rock will have to be removed along the new route, which will raise the estimated cost of the project from $3.2 million to $3.3 million.
A public meeting on the project was held last October and three possible plans to improve the roadway were identified. Comments were taken from the public during the meeting. Additional input on the project was taken through mid-November.
Since then, MoDOT officials reviewed the comments and suggestions received and made changes to the proposed plan. Maninga said one reason for meeting with concerned individuals and groups is to obtain additional input before a final proposal is presented to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for final approval.
The commission is scheduled to meet in April. No plans for improvement to the Hopewell Hill section of Highway 47 will be finalized until the commission grants its approval, Maninga told The Record.