The expansions of Highways 63 and 50 top the Transportation Advisory Committee's priority list while the committee identifies safety improvements at Interstate 44 to University Drive in Rolla as medium-priority.

The Meramec Region’s Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) decided the expansions of Highways 63 and 50 to four-lane corridors remain the No. 1 and No. 2 regional transportation priorities at its recent meeting.

The proposed projects on Highway 63 and Highway 50 have topped the regional priority list for several years.

Once it was decided that the two projects should remain top priorities for the region, TAC members from each county shared the top three or four additional transportation needs from their counties.

The TAC then voted to prioritize the additional needs on a regional level. The prioritized list was approved later in evening by the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) board and will now be shared with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Central District office for consideration of inclusion in MoDOT’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) — the five-year plan for design and construction projects.

In addition to the projects on Highways 63 and 50, other items topping the TAC’s priority list as high or medium priority, in order of priority, are:

— Replace bridge over Frene Creek on Missouri Route 19 in Gasconade County.
— Address bridge concerns over Big River on Route C in Washington County.
— Address safety concerns on bridge over Gladden Creek on Missouri Route 19 in Dent County.
— Safety improvements at the Y intersection of Highway 63 and Highway 28 south of Vienna in Maries County.
— Replace bridge over Dry Creek on Route HH in Crawford County.
— Safety improvements at Interstate 44 to University Drive on U.S. Route 63 in Rolla.
— Install passing and climbing lanes on U.S. Route 63 in Osage County.
— Safety improvements at intersection of Highway 63 and Route E in Osage County.
— Safety improvements at Exit 159 on ramp on at Interstate 44 in St. Robert.
— Add dual left turn lane on Missouri Avenue southbound to Eastlawn in St. Robert.
— Address safety and flooding concerns on Route 89 near the Gasconade River through Osage County.
— Safety improvements and turn lane on U.S. Route 63 through Westphalia.
— Improve interchange at U.S. Route 63 and Interstate 44 in Rolla.
— Add southbound turn lanes on U.S. Route 63 to Highway 28 near Vichy.

The priority list is an annual planning exercise for the TAC. The TAC further prioritized spot projects on Highway 63 that MoDOT has identified as projects that would significantly improve the flow of traffic. 

The projects ranked from highest to lowest were:

—Build a northbound passing lane north of Vienna starting approximately half one miles north of Route AA and extending 2.4 miles in Maries County.
— Build a northbound passing lane starting at Route 28 near Vichy and extending for 3.3 miles in Maries County. This includes turn lanes at Route 28 on Highway 63. 
— Build a northbound passing lane north of Freeburg starting at Route JJ and extending for 1.7 miles. This would include a southbound left turn lane at Route JJ in Osage County.
— Build a southbound passing lane south of Freeburg starting approximately at city limits and extending for 2.2 miles in Osage County.
— Extend the southbound climbing lane south of Westphalia to Route T in Osage County.
— Build a two-way left turn lane from County Road 511 to Mill Street in Westphalia.
— Rebuild the Highway 63 and Route E intersection in Osage County.
— Extend the southbound climbing lane at Route A to go around the corner ending at the straightaway in Maries County. 

MoDOT representatives reported to the TAC that six Traffic Engineering Assistance Program (TEAP) projects from the Central District were funded. Five cities submitted applications from the Meramec Region that were reviewed and ranked at the October TAC meeting. Four of the six Central District projects funded were in the Meramec Region and will focus on ADA evaluation plans for the cities of St. James, St. Robert, Salem and Hermann. The two additional projects out of region were for Fulton and Lebanon. 

James Beattie was also introduced as the new MoDOT project manager for the region at the meeting.