The city of Union is trying to push its plans for Highway 47 improvements forward.
City Administrator Russell Rost said the stars are starting to align and its preferred project could break ground in the near future.
“If we get the grant approval, this could be underway and under construction in four years,” he said.
Traffic congestion at Highway 47 and Highway 50 has long been an issue for the city of Union. Last year, the city and Franklin County teamed up and came up with a plan Rost said addresses the issue.
Under that plan, the county would build a new two-lane roundabout at County Farm Road that would lead drivers to the new Union Expressway — a stretch that includes a new bridge over the Bourbeuse River that would connect at the current Highway 47 south intersection.
The county and city are working to secure federal funding to pay for the estimated $10.2 million project.
Cochran, Union, has worked to design the project. The city of Union hired Cochran last month to help apply for the grant and work on the project. Franklin County approved a similar deal with Cochran on Tuesday.
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.
Rost said the city currently has about $640,000 allocated for the project. The bulk of that, $500,000, comes from the Union Special Road District. That deal was approved Monday night at the city’s board of aldermen meeting.
Rost said the city has the next several years to set aside road money for the project in order to reach its roughly $2 million goal.
Before he retires in October, Rost said he wants to have a financial plan in place to show how the city can pay for its share of the project.
Meeting With MoDOT
Without federal funding, the project won’t move forward. The project also stalls out if MoDOT doesn’t agree to support it.
“There’s a lot of moving parts that have to come together,” Rost said.
At the city’s transportation committee Wednesday, Jan. 8, Rost said Union has recently been working to get MoDOT to sign off on the plans.
“We’re asking for MoDOT to give us two letters of support for our plan,” he said.
Rost said the city has a conditional approval from MoDOT for both projects.
The meeting with MoDOT featured a lot of differing opinions, Rost said. MoDOT has a plan in place that differs from the city of Union.
Under MoDOT’s plan, Highway 47 north would be extended south and run behind Dickey Bub Farm & Home. At some point, the new road would link up with the existing Highway 47 south.
The city is not a fan of that plan, Rost said. For one, MoDOT said it couldn’t start until at least 2050.
Rost also said MoDOT’s plan is more expensive than that city’s idea.
A MoDOT concern is the roundabout, Rost said. The city has added roundabouts in the last several years and believe that they work.
Concerns were raised when the city began installing roundabouts, but Rost said those have dissipated. He said roundabouts handle traffic well, are safe and work. Based on work done by Cochran, the city is convinced the roundabout will work at Highway 47.
In order to address MoDOT’s concerns, Rost said the city will look at what a lighted intersection would do to its traffic count numbers. He said the city thinks a roundabout will be the best way forward.
According to an estimate provided by Cochran, the project is expected to carry a $10,209,738.01 price tag. That includes $7,882,280 for construction alone. The rest of the money is split between right-of-way acquisition, design work, inspections and testing and a contingency fund.
The city expects to be the only grant applicant from Franklin County. All other municipalities have told the city they won’t be applying this year.
Franklin County and Union both 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.
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 city and county will both apply for grants. Rost said by June, both should know where the applications stand.