Local planners hope that one day flooding will no longer be a threat to accessing the Missouri River bridge at Washington.Officials are exploring construction of an elevated roadway, called a …
Planners seek elevated roadway through floodplain
By Adam Rollins, Record Staff Writer
Local planners hope that one day flooding will no longer be a threat to accessing the Missouri River bridge at Washington.Officials are exploring construction of an elevated roadway, called a causeway, that would connect the bridge to Highway 94 south of Dutzow. The entire causeway would be above flood level, meaning the road and bridge could stay open even during flooding like Warren County saw last May.There are no immediate plans for the new connection, but Warren County Commissioner Hubie Kluesner said the causeway would preserve access for the 13,000 people who cross the Missouri River daily for work, school and health care.“When water is over Highway 47, they are not going anywhere,” he said.Kluesner said it could be many years before any such project gets underway. Probably the only way to fund such a large project would be to get state and federal assistance, he said.For now, the effort begins locally. Kluesner and others are seeking the support of the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) transportation advisory committee, which is made up of members from Lincoln, Montgomery and Warren counties. Kluesner and BRPC Executive Director Chad Eggen also took the conversation across the river last week, asking for the support of the Washington Area Transportation Committee.That committee brings together representatives from Washington, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), Franklin and Warren counties to discuss transportation issues in the region.Flooding in Warren County is a concern for the committee because, as Eggen put it, a new Missouri River bridge currently under construction becomes “a $60 million bridge to nowhere,” if Highway 47 is closed.Kluesner noted that for more than two days in May there was no connection to the bridge. The situation could be more dire if the levee near Treloar would break.“If the levee ever breaks, it is destruction from Treloar to Augusta,” he said. “People put their heads in the sand and don’t see the problem we have. ... We were inches away from the levee being a problem.”He explained that 600 children on the north side of the bridge attend classes in the Washington School District, as well as students who attend St. Francis Regional High School and other parochial schools.Residents in southern Warren County also depend on the bridge for access to health care services in Washington, he said.The idea of a causeway is nothing new, but it becomes more important as the local population increases and flooding along the Missouri River becomes a more pressing concern, Kluesner explained.Earlier this year, MoDOT Area Engineer Judy Wagner said a similar plan was outlined in a Major Transportation Investment Analysis that was finalized in 2001.“We probably should get that document back out,” she said. “There is a lot of good information we can use to plan for a future alignment.”
During flooding in May 2017, water covered Highway 47 between Marthasville and the bridge across the Missouri River at Washington. This photo was taken from Boone Monument Road, looking west toward Highway 47.