Record Managing Editor Local and MoDOT officials are touting the completion of a project to realign a stretch of Highway 47. Warren County commissioners were pleased to see the project get wrapped up more than two weeks earlier than initially planned and hope it will be safer for motorists traveling in the area as well. Crews have been working since April to realign a curvy stretch of the highway, located between Warrenton and Marthasville. The $2.345 million project consisted of eliminating two sharp S curves and constructing 11-foot driving lanes with 4-foot shoulders along the new three-fourth of a mile section. The pavement was widened to 3 1/2 feet on the inside of the curves and the 12 existing curves have been softened into three curves. Edge line rumble stripes were also added to increase safety. The highway, closed since July 18, reopened to traffic on July 30. “I think it looks great,” Presiding Commissioner Arden Engelage said. “It opens everything up.” Crews will continue to monitor temporary erosion control and it will be removed once vegetation has taken hold. H.R. Quadri Contractors, LLC of Van Buren, was the contractor on the project. Commissioners were glad to see the project get done as early as it did. The tentative schedule called for the realignment project to be completed on Aug. 16. “Those guys worked all hours,” said Southern District Hubie Kluesner, who lives at the bottom of Hopewell Hill. “They were there to get the job done. Everyone worked to get the job done. It may have caused some inconvenience, but closing the road gained a lot of time.” The project to straighten the stretch of Highway 47 has been years in the making. Drivers often complained about wide 18-wheel tractor trailers taking up both their own lane and part of the oncoming lane as they negotiated the hilly, winding highway. A number of serious and fatal accidents have also occurred through the years at Hopewell Hill. According to statistics from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, from 1986 to May 2010, 212 motor vehicle accidents were reported between Highway CC and Highway N. Of those, 136 accidents involved property damage and 71 people were hurt. Five people were killed in that same span. Commissioners feel more motorists may be inclined to use Highway 47 now that it is safer. “People were hesitant to go either way because of that hill,” Northern District Commission Dan Hampson said. “The top priority in speaking with MoDOT, we made sure they knew it was first and foremost on our mind.” MoDOT officials are pleased to have the project wrapped up and thanked residents’ patience during the temporary road closure. “We are very excited to have the Hopewell Hill project open to traffic,” said Kevin James, assistant district engineer. “This project has significant safety benefits for the people who travel on Route 47 every day. MoDOT wants to thank the people who live in the area that were patient through the construction process including the closure of Route 47 for a short period of time.” Engelage said the commission appreciated the interest shown in the project by MoDOT, in particular by Northeast District Engineer Paula Gough. “If she didn’t get on board, nothing would have happened,” Engelage said.
A stretch of Highway 47 between Warrenton and Marthasville is now realigned following the completion of a project to straighten the road. Tim Schmidt photo.