Highway 47

The city of Union is hoping its neighbors in Pacific hold off on applying for a federal transportation grant in 2020. 

Union plans to apply for grant funding for a major Highway 47 project to realign the North and South Highway 47 and building a new Union Expressway.

In order for the project to get off the ground, the city has asked other Franklin County municipalities to sit out of the 2020 grant cycle. That way the city would have a greater chance of receiving the funds needed to complete the project. 

Monday night, City Administrator Russell Rost told aldermen he spoke with Pacific Mayor Steve Myers and City Administrator Steve Roth about the project in September. He said at the time, both agreed with Rost’s proposal.

Rost said there apparently was a misunderstanding. He said the city of Union learned Pacific was hiring a consultant to help with grant writing for the 2020 grant cycle.

Rost said Pacific aldermen have already backed a project and voted to move forward and apply for the grant. He said he was planning to attend the next Pacific aldermen meeting to ask them to reconsider and wait out a year.

Rost said the Union project has a higher impact. He said the current Highway 47 and Highway 50 intersection handles 37,000 cars daily.

He added that Myers and Roth are open to dropping their 2020 request if the city of Union promises to support a future Pacific project.

Rost said Pacific officials told him they have a project they are planning on applying for in the 2021 grant cycle. He said Union was asked if would sit out that cycle and put support toward the Pacific project. 

“In return for their support, we’d support them,” he said.

Alderman Robert Marquart asked Rost if the city was planning on applying for any federal grants in 2021. Rost said the city traditionally applies for grants each year.

However, with the possibility of the major Highway 47 project, Rost said it might make sense for the city to sit out a year or two. If the Highway 47 project moves forward, the city would have a major financial commitment in matching funds.

The matching funds could total more than $2 million. Rost said it might actually help the city to not have to come up with matching funds in back to back to years. 

With that said, Union aldermen expressed support for the plan. Marquart said he felt like it was a good idea. Vicki Jo Hooper said she didn’t have a problem with the idea of mutual support. 

Aldermen agreed to support the Pacific project. Rost said he would prepare a formal resolution for the board to vote on at its Dec. 9 meeting. 

He said he would tell Pacific aldermen of the city’s intent to back Pacific’s project in 2021. 

Project Background

Under an  agreement between Franklin County and the city of Union, 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.