Highway 47

The city of Union and Franklin County formally entered into an agreement Monday night to jointly make improvements to Highway 47. 

Aldermen unanimously approved an agreement between the city and county to move forward with a project to improve traffic conditions around the Highway 47 and Highway 50 intersection in Union. 

The Franklin County Commission approved its portion of the deal Oct. 8.

Under the agreement, both sides will work to secure funding to create a mile-long, two-lane expressway to bypass the intersection of Highways 50 and 47 in Union. The “Union Expressway” also would realign the northern section of Highway 47 to meet in a straight line with the southern portion.

According to documents provided to aldermen, the city will be tasked with constructing the Union Expressway while the county will build a roundabout on Highway 47.

The roadway portion of the expressway includes a 2,000-foot section of bridge over the Bourbeuse River and corresponding flood plain.

The design of the expressway will run from Highway 47 at Old County Farm Road to the current alignment of south Highway 47 at Highway 50.

The northern end of the expressway will feature a two-lane roundabout on Highway 47 and the southern portion will culminate in a four-way stop intersection.

The total cost of the roadway is estimated at $10,209,738.01. The city intends to apply for federal grants to cover around $6,936,406, meaning the local share would be approximately $3,273,332.

The roundabout carries an estimated price tag of $1,978,915.60. The county also will apply for grant funding and said the local share is approximately $660,003.

The total local share for the roadway and roundabout would be $3,933,335. The city and county both agreed to a 50/50 split of the local share if both grants are awarded. 

The agreement is void if the grants are not received. 

Project Background

The city of Union has been pushing for intersection improvements at Highways 47 and 50 for several years. The project is on the Missouri Department of Transportation’s longterm list. City of Union officials have stated the project is not slated to start for at least another 20 years. 

In the spring of 2018, the city began looking for a way to speed up the project. The city sought a cost estimate for a realignment of Highway 47 and Highway 50 in hopes that would alleviate some traffic issues. 

The proposed project carried a hefty price estimated at north of $16 million. The city said the only way funding would work would be through grants and cost-sharing agreements. 

This summer the city of Union, Franklin County and the Union Special Road District agreed to team up to attempt to address the traffic issues at the intersection of Highway 47 and Highway 50. The group formed a subcommittee of the county’s Highway 47 committee.

The group was formed after other Highway 47 entities opted against pursing the Highway 47 and Highway 50 project. 

Union was instructed to take the lead and hire a consultant. The consultant has been tasked with designing a workable realignment project for Highway 47 that splits at Highway 50.

The city hired Cochran, Union, to be the consultant. Cochran has been using an August 2017 study by the St. Louis-based Lochmueller Group as the jumping off point of the project. The study was done on the Highway 47 corridor 

Under the new study, Cochran agreed to survey the area to “establish  conceptual vertical profile and horizontal alignment” in order to tie into the existing road. The study will research right of way acquisitions needed for any development.

The study also will conduct environmental research and flood plain permitting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Cochran will look at impact of the plans on utilities and the railroad. 

The survey ultimately will provide cost estimates for both options and recommend phasing in order to secure grant funding.