MoDOT listens to Route AB concerns

Friday, December 10, 2004

Before the Missouri Department of Transportation submits a final plan to move Route AB, officials from that agency want to hear what the people who will drive on it have to say.

In 90 minutes time Thursday afternoon, about 60 people came to the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport to discuss the project, said Eric Krapf, project engineer from Sikeston, Mo .

"About 90 percent of the comments we received so far have been favorable," Krapf said. "Most of the concerns are minor issues that we will try to address. That's why we have these meetings."

A big sticking point is the relocation of a railroad crossing from County Road 220 to a location north of there. Moving the railroad crossing may mean a couple of farmers will have to travel about a mile out of their way to get to their fields. But Krapf said that Burlington Northern railroad is adamant that it does not want to build another crossing with one already nearby. So if MoDOT is to accommodate motorists on the new Route AB, it may have to agree to build a railroad crossing there and close the other one.

Cape Girardeau County Commissioner Larry Bock said moving Route AB will mean improved traffic safety and a straight route for trucks going to the port authority, and eliminating truck traffic on Interstate 55.

In addition, MoDOT will reconstruct the intersection of Highways 25 and 77 and Route AB at Blomeyer, and will include turn lanes and traffic signals. Once the route is opened, MoDOT said it expects more traffic to use Route AB.

"We're predicting 7,000 vehicles a day to use this road and 10 percent of that will be trucks," said Steve Hoernig, a traffic studies engineer for MoDOT.

Cape Girardeau County will acquire the right-of-way and pay for construction of a new county road, Krapf said. The cost to the county is $2 million; MoDOT's portion is $2.6 million. MoDOT will then take over the route and maintain it, and in return will give the county the maintenance of some outer roads on a mile-for-mile basis. The county will begin acquiring rights-of-way probably in the spring, he said.

Once the construction contract is bid, the project may be finished by 2006 or at the latest 2007, Krapf said.

335-6611, extension 160

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