Buchanan County prepares for big road improvements

·2 min read

Aug. 12—Buchanan County roads will see multiple upgrades during the next five years after Gov. Mike Parson announced a new investment plan to improve rural infrastructure.

The work is part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), which is prepared and renewed each year for the projects the Missouri Department of Transportation will take part in. According to the MODOT website, work that will be included in the program involves highways and bridges, transit, aviation, rail, waterways, bicycle, pedestrian and operations and maintenance projects.

Patrick McKenna, director of MoDOT, talked about where money is going statewide to help improve road conditions.

"We're going to be putting nearly 15,000 miles of rural routes in better shape ... that's worth about $1.2 billion," McKenna said. "We've got 546 bridges on rural routes that are going to be worked on ... that's almost half a billion dollars there. Low-volume, minor routes are going to get an infusion of nearly 300 lane miles, improved about $169 million there in bridges, another 293 bridges there for about $132 million. That totals that $2 billion investment."

For the years of 2023 to 2027, Buchanan County currently has 17 projects planned involving improvements to local highways and bridges. The total cost of these projects totals $45,546,000.

Three of the projects will be on U.S. Highway 169, with two being completed in 2024 and one in 2025. The cost of these three projects will be $10,215,000 in total.

One project involves work on pavement resurfacing from Route FF to Clay County and Route U from west of the Stockyards Expressway to the end of state maintenance. This project will cost $5,852,000 and will take place in 2024.

The most expensive project currently planned in Buchanan County is on U.S. Highway 59. That construction will include intersection improvements at Route 752 and Route U in St. Joseph. The total cost of the project will be $6,179,000 and the work will take place in 2024.

McKenna said MoDOT and the Highways and Transportation Commission have worked together to navigate difficulties due to inflation.

"We've had some price inflation of late but we're not letting that slow us down," McKenna said. "The (highways and transportation) commission made sure that they put state road fund money into that as well so that we could get all of the intended work done. And that's going to have a major, major benefit."

Residents who are curious about other construction taking place in Missouri can check out and interactive map at the website at www.https://www.modot.org/statewide-transportation-improvement-program-stip.

Riley Funk can be reached at riley.funk@newspressnow.com.