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Stalled Ramsey Creek Bridge project back on Scott City's front burner

Friday, September 1, 2006

Despite the fact that the same federal highway bill made the two projects possible, Scott City's Ramsey Creek Bridge is an idea still in the planning stage, while Jackson's East Main Street interchange is becoming a reality.

Ground was broken on the Jackson project on Thursday, but a similar ceremony in Scott City could be over a year away.

But both MoDOT and Scott City officials said the delay isn't a result of foot-dragging. Instead, the Jackson project has been ready to go for years, just awaiting the money the federal bill provided last summer.

"There has been development going on that project for years," Eric Krapf, MoDOT's project manager in Sikeston, said of the East Main Street project. "Ramsey Creek just got put on the map."

In the case of both projects decades have passed since the idea was initially suggested. Scott City leaders talked about a bridge over Ramsey Creek to connect the city's northern industrial park to its southern population center in the 1970s. But serious talk about gathering funds and planning for such a project didn't start until around 2001.

But the project stalled for lack of funding before planning could really begin. Last year's federal transportation bill gave $5 million to the project, which finally put Ramsey Creek on MoDOT's list of future projects, and the planning began.

In Jackson, on the other hand, that work was underway by the mid-1990s.

"Ramsey Creek, basically it became a project when we received the $5 million," said Porch. "They were both awarded federal money in the same budget, but I know Jackson and Cape have done a lot of work on their own contributions for this project. It's been going on for many years."

Right now the Ramsey Creek project is still in the study phase, which could by itself take nearly a year to complete. That study phase includes an environmental review to determine a corridor for the bridge and the connecting road that will need to be built between Scott City's Main Street and Nash Road and assess the construction's impact on people and the environment.

Once a route is determined a series of public hearings will be required since private property will inevitably have to be acquired for the construction.

Porch said he hopes to see construction begin in 2008.

"We hope the thing proceeds aggressively," Porch said. "The city of Scott City wants this to move as quick as possible, but we realize there are gears and things that have to turn for this to happen."

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182


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