Transportation advisory committee prioritizes regional road, bridges, multi-model projects

RDN REPORTS
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The Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s Transportation Advisory Committee meeting Aug. 12 at Meramec Regional Planning Commission, prioritized the next round of unfunded needs in the region, including the top five Tier Three road and bridge and the top 10 multi-modal projects to assist Missouri Department of Transportation in its planning efforts for future projects. 

“Road, bridge and multimodal projects were prioritized as part of the unfunded Tier 3 planning discussion with Missouri Department of Transportation, should additional funds become available for transportation projects throughout the state,” Anne Freand, Meramec Regional Planning Commission Planning Manager said. “The region’s top five road and bridge projects and top 10 multimodal projects were then presented to Missouri Department of Transportation’s Central District for consideration at a meeting on Aug. 24.”

Eleven road and bridge projects were submitted to the TAC for prioritization and were narrowed down to five. The top projects in descending order were:

1. Capacity and safety improvements at the Highway V Interchange on Interstate 44 in Phelps County.

2. Bridge Replacement over Crooked Creek on Route TT in Dent County.

3. New alignment of US 63 south of Osage County Road 524 to Maries CR 332 in Osage County.

4. Convert overpass to interchange for economic development and safety at the junction of Route FF on Interstate 44 in Crawford County. 

5. Add a left turn lane on Missouri Route 19 at Lindburg Road in Crawford County. 

Multi-modal projects include rail, trail, sidewalks, airports, public transit and ports. Sixteen multi-modal projects were submitted for prioritization. The top 10 in descending order were:

1. Add continuous sidewalk to connect subdivisions to community along Rt. Y from I-44 to Lemming Lane in Pulaski County.

2. Overlay and remark runway at the Rolla Airport in Vichy.

3. Improve ADA compliance and pedestrian safety along MO 19 in Steelville.

4. Add shoulders and/or bike lanes to the south outer road along I-44 between exit 189 and St. James.

5. Add sidewalk along east side of MO 19 from Center St. to Rt. 32 in Salem, Dent County.

6. Convert Rock Island Railway into hiking trail from Belle to Owensville.

7. Construct hangers and taxi lanes at the Rolla Airport in Vichy.

8. Add pedestrian facilities across Pulaski County.

9. Construct partial parallel taxiway at the Salem Airport.

10. Add pedestrian facilities near school in Loose Creek. 

These priorities were later approved by the full Meramec Regional Planning Commission board at its meeting that evening and submitted to MoDOT for consideration in its planning work. For more information, please contact Anne Freand, MRPC planning department manager, via email at afreand@meramecregion.org or via phone at 573-265-2993 ext. 105.

Additionally, during the meeting:

• A new slate of officers was elected for the TAC committee. Those serving as officers now are Darin Pryor of Rolla as chairman, Steve Vogt of Belle as vice chair and T.R. Dudley of Washington County as secretary. 

• Freand gave an update on the road safety audit that was conducted at Route E and Robart Road in Washington County. The road safety audit determined the largest issue was 150 feet of entrance on a curve with no clear markings as to entrance and exit from Robart Road. Proposed possibilities of solutions included new paving on the entrance, reducing the road width of Robart Road, additional signage or moving the signage to a better location, and tree trimming.

• Heard from Missouri Department of Transportation Central District Engineer Preston Kramer that Gov. Parson has signed the fuel tax into law and would be effective on Oct. 1. The fuel tax raises 2.5 cents every year for five years for a total of 12.5 cents in additional revenue for roads and bridges. Missourians do have the option to keep their receipts and request reimbursement of this additional tax yearly.

• Heard a report from Meramec Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Bonnie Prigge on the number of fatalities in the region. The state is seeing an increase in fatalities when compared to 2020. As of Aug. 9, 571 people had lost their lives on Missouri roadways, compared to 588 for the same time period in 2020. Twenty-six of those fatalities in 2021 were in the Meramec Region with ten of those being in Crawford County. Statewide in 2021, 66 percent of the fatalities were not wearing seatbelts. 

Prigge has ‘Buckle Up, Phone Down’ signs for anyone who would like to install one on a parking lot. 

Persons needing more information on Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s  Transportation Advisory Committee may contact Meramec Regional Planning Commission at (573) 265-2993. 

The group will meet again at 4 p.m. Oct. 14 at MRPC, 4 Industrial Dr., St. James. Meetings are open to the public.