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Boone County Commissioners like Stadium extension to Route Z

Monday, March 10, 2008 | 7:13 p.m. CDT; updated 6:05 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

COLUMBIA — The best option for extending Stadium Boulevard north and east would be to take it all the way to the interchange of Route Z and Interstate 70, Boone County commissioners said Monday.

The commission met with engineers from the Missouri Department of Transportation and from consulting firm CH2M Hill Monday to discuss the options for extending Stadium Boulevard and realigning and widening Route WW.

Roger Schwartze, District 5 engineer with the Department of Transportation, said the project is looking to the future.

“What we’ve done is looked at all of the transportation needs in an area east of (U.S.) 63, south of (Interstate) 70 and north of New Haven Road to see what should be the transportation improvements to help the type of growth that’s anticipated,” Schwartze said.

The meeting was the first time county commissioners had met with CH2M Hill; they focused on five potential plans. Boone County Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller said the city and the county have different preferences among the five proposals.

“We just wanted to look at all the options,” Miller said.

The county’s favorite would realign and widen Route WW, extend Ballenger Lane across Interstate 70 and extend Stadium Boulevard all the way to Route Z. The estimated price tag is $110 million.

Miller said it is the county’s choice from “a long-term perspective.”

The plan preferred by city of Columbia officials would keep the changes to Route WW and Ballenger Lane but would extend Stadium Boulevard only to the Lake of the Woods interchange, which would fall short of Route Z. That option would cost $73 million.

Miller said that no funding for the project has been allocated, but city and county officials have asked legislators to earmark money for the project.

“We just feel like none of us have the money to do this right now,” she said.

Schwartze said the money could come from other places as well.

“It could be a combination of federal, state or county or city funding,” he said. “Even developers could hold pieces of this.”

The development of this project, along with public input, is published in an environmental impact statement online at eastcolumbiaeis.com. The EIS is required before the project can get major government funding.

The next step in the process is a joint meeting at which city, county and state officials would try to reach consensus on which plan is best. That might not be for a while, though, because it’s hard to find a time that will work for all three groups.

“MoDOT will contact the city, and we will have a joint meeting and will discuss all the options,” Miller said. “There won’t be an end in sight until the city, the county and the state can agree.

“We’ll find a solution,” she added. “We’ll all agree after we hear the pros and cons. We’ll find the right solution.”


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