Augusta Bottom Road Air Photo

Missourian File Photo

Transportation advocates learned this week that the Missouri Department of Transportation is nearly ready to hire a third-party consultant to lead a study on the Highway 100 corridor from Washington to Villa Ridge. 

Local officials are hopeful the study will include close examination of the intersection of Highway 100 and St. John’s Road. 

Some committee members have advocated that the intersection needs a stoplight, but MoDOT officials say it is much more practical — and safer — to install J-turns at the intersection. 

“To be clear, the study is larger in scope than just that intersection. There are several things that they are looking at all the way to I-44,” said John Nilges, Washington’s director of public works. Nilges helped lead discussion on the project at the Washington Area Transportation Committee meeting on Monday. 

Nilges said, “Obviously, (if MoDOT) is looking at an overhaul of multiple locations, then we’d ask that your priorities — or at least I think would be ideal, especially for this group — be the St. John’s and Highway 100 intersection,” Nilges said. 

Members of the transportation committee are concerned that the opening of South Point Elementary, which is being built on St. John’s Road, will cause a significant increase in eastbound traffic wanting to turn north, crossing two lanes of westbound traffic on Highway 100 and creating traffic hazards for motorists.

The committee members also discussed the need for improvements to Augusta Bottom Road, which they believe will likely see an increase in motor vehicle traffic once the Hoffmann Family of Companies’ winery developments are completely operational in Augusta. 

“It is something that we need to be proactive about,” said Bill Straatmann, chairman of the transportation committee. 

Warren County Presiding Commissioner Joe Gildehaus said the Warren County Commission is unlikely to invest in the roadway given how few drivers from Warren County use the road. A recent traffic study found that 350 cars used the road each day during a seven-day period.  

“It is going to be hard for me to put any more money into it,” Gildehaus said. “Plus, it would be hard for me to support something that forces people away from Dutzow or Marthasville. (If Augusta Bottom Road) is improved, then that’s exactly what I am doing — pushing them away from the businesses we have in those communities. I can’t do that.”