COLUMBIA — In a first step toward extending Gans Road just south of Columbia, Boone County commissioned an alignment study to find an acceptable route for the road.
The extension would run from Bearfield Road to Route K, which is known as Providence Road within the city, and would connect to the nearby U.S. 63 interchange.
The engineering firm Bartlett & West of Jefferson City will study land in the area to look for potential concerns, such as sinkholes or unsteady ground, that would hinder road construction. The firm’s goal is to find an alignment for the Gans Road extension that would avoid such hazards. The route also crosses a creek bed, so a bridge may be needed.
“It’s mainly an environmental study to find the best route,” Bob Gilbert of Bartlett & West said. “It involves collecting a lot of data along the proposed route of the road, including utilities, topography and geography.”
Bartlett & West will conduct few field studies and will rely on county maps to compile most of its report. Workers will be in the Gans Road area periodically to gather data.
Boone County Presiding Commissioner Ken Pearson said the county is beginning the process so that the report is available when the city and county are ready to move forward.
The alignment study will cost $132,000 and probably will take all of 2008 to complete, county Public Works Director David Mink said.
“The county is funding this step,” he said. “Our part in the future design phases would probably be limited.”
Mink noted that there are several anticipated developments in the area and rapid development at Discovery Ridge on the east side of U.S. 63. There is greater need for connectivity, Mink said. The city of Columbia will have input on the project and is working with county officials to set the agenda for the alignment study. Columbia is conducting similar research for the stretch of Gans Road from Bearfield Road to U.S. 63.
David Nichols, manager of engineering for the city’s Public Works Department, said the area around Gans Road is of growing interest to Columbia.
“At some point it may be likely that the border of the city would extend beyond that road,” he said.
While the final report could take up to a year to complete, Bartlett & West will hold public hearings during that time to get input from residents. Gilbert said he hopes to have preliminary data compiled by the time of the public hearings .
The county hopes eventually to receive federal money for the road extension.
After the report is finished, Bartlett & West will submit its recommendation to the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration for further approval.