An initial grant application seeking funds to help construct a new north outer road between U.S. Highway 63 and State Highway V in Phelps County has been submitted.

An initial grant application seeking funds to help construct a new north outer road between U.S. Highway 63 and State Highway V in Phelps County has been submitted.
The deadline to apply for the grants was Tuesday, and now county commissioners will wait to see if they are invited to move forward with their grant application.
The county commission has been working with the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) on the grant application. Lyle Thomas, community development specialist with MRPC, attended Tuesday’s commission meeting to finalize the application before sending it off.
Commissioners are hoping a new north outer road that would run parallel to Interstate 44 will divert commercial and industrial traffic out of the Northwye residential area.
In order to be eligible for the funds through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program offered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, at least 51 percent of the population of the area served by the project must be people with low to moderate incomes.
If the county receives notice that its application will move onto the next step, county commissioners will pick back up their work attempting to show that need through surveys of area residents.
So far, the county has received about 25 surveys back from residents. Thomas said Tuesday that a minimum of 91 surveys needs to be sent out and 73 of them need to be completed and returned. Then, 38 surveys of those completed surveys need to show that the low- to moderate-income requirement has been met.
According to the grant application, Phelps County has committed $131,000 to the project and the City of Rolla has committed $37,500. Commissioners are hoping to receive $452,300 from the CDBG program.
If the grant is approved, all three funding sources would cover the estimated cost of the project, which is $620,800.
Of that amount, construction is estimated to cost $463,300, and engineering work is expected to cost $25,000.
Other costs include construction inspection, utility work, property acquisition estimated at $5,000, and other professional services and grant administration expenses.
Steve Hargis, Rolla public works director, completed a preliminary engineering report for the application. Rolla’s in-kind portion includes the engineering design and construction inspection.
The county’s in-kind portion would include clearing and demolition work, storm sewer work, a rock base for the new road and final grading and seeding work along with right-of-way acquisition and safety signs.
The application also includes letters of support from state Sen. Dan Brown; state Rep. Tom Hurst; Hargis and John Butz, with the City of Rolla; Preston Kramer, with the Missouri Department of Transportation; and a resolution of support by the county commission.
The application states that a new north outer road would improve driver safety, alleviate traffic through residential neighborhoods in the Northwye area, reduce heavy truck traffic on county roads, open the area for development, improve the appearance of the area and restore the original historic Route 66 path.
Currently, a north outer road starts at Highway V and turns into County Road 2020. From there, travelers can access Highway 63 via County Road 2000.
A preliminary drawing created by Hargis shows that the new outer road would run parallel to I-44 from where the state maintenance ends west of Route V to the east end of County Road 2000.
If the grant funds are approved, a proposed timeline for the project states the new outer road could be completed in approximately 21 months from the grant award date.