At the meeting last Monday of the Washington Area Highways and Transportation Committee, one of the members suggested that a partnership between Franklin and Warren counties should be created to push for improvements to Highway 47 between Interstate 70 at Warrenton and Interstate 44 at St. Clair. The suggestion has at least as much merit as a new Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River!
The idea is not new. Decades ago, it was suggested that Highway 47 be improved between the two interstate highways for it to serve as a bypass of St. Louis County, where I-270 carries heavy traffic.
The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is well aware of the need for a four-lane Highway 47 between Washington and St. Clair. At present it isn’t on any funding list. A study of that stretch has been commissioned, and paid for by the cooperation of the county, the municipalities and special road districts, to determine the needs. The study is in progress now.
A member of the Washington committee who suggested the partnership between Franklin and Warren counties, Ray Frankenberg II, said the next large area for growth is the two counties and points west. He said there is much potential for growth, especially industrial, in the two counties and to the west. Improving Highway 47 would foster that growth, he said.
At a recent meeting, at the request of Warren County, the Washington committee pledged its support for a new Warren County connection to the new bridge. Years ago, the suggestion was made for a causeway from the north end of the new bridge to connect to Highway 94. Because of flooding, it is needed. Warren County has many connections to Washington and Franklin County. Part of the Washington School District is in Warren and St. Charles counties. Many residents to the north work in Washington and Franklin County. Washington is where many residents to the north shop. Mercy Hospital Washington is their hospital. There are other connections between the two counties.
Franklin and Warren counties should cooperate on Highway 47 improvements — that is, work together and with the state on the project. Leadership of the two counties should meet on a regular basis to coordinate their efforts. That may lead to other joint projects to partner with to benefit both entities.