COLUMBIA— Curious residents asked questions of engineers and public officials Monday night about the different ways to extend Gans Road from Bearfield Road to Route K, or Providence Road.
Boone County and the city of Columbia held the public information meeting at Rock Bridge Elementary School to get input about the Gans Road Preliminary Engineering Study. The study, which should be completed by the end of the year, looks for the best alignment of the extension of Gans Road, which would eventually connect Providence Road with U.S. 63.
Greeted with a comment form and a handout listing answers to frequently asked questions as they walked in the door, members of the public were invited into the open house-style meeting to view topographical images produced in the first stages of the study.
“We’re doing a study to check the best alignment.,” county Public Works Director David Mink said of the meeting. “We want to let the public know that this work is going on.”
Some residents were in favor of the project after looking at the information provided. Valerie Barnes said the extension was needed in the area.
“I think it will take some traffic off of Grindstone and provide easier access to Discovery Ridge,” Barnes said.
Other residents on hand were not as positive. Tom Norling and his wife, Carol, own property adjacent to Gans Road, near where the proposed construction would take place. Their house is near the street on the north side of Gans, and Norling’s concern was how an extension of the road would affect his property.
“The reason we bought the property was because it was beautiful and isolated,” he said. “We’re not against them taking it through; we’re against them making it wider.”
Bartlett & West, the engineering firm hired by the county to conduct the study, created the images on display at the meeting. The three maps included information such as property lines, utilities and environmental and cultural resources. Representatives from the firm were on hand to answer the public’s questions and gather further comments on the project.
“The purpose of the study is just to identify the environmental, the cultural issues,” said Chris Criswell, lead project engineer from Bartlett & West. Environmental issues include the crossing of Clear Creek, which runs through the proposed area of the extension.
The firm has no definite plan for where the extension of Gans Road will go, but they are looking at three different routes, Criswell said, one a bit to the north, one down the center and one a bit to the south.
Norling said he would continue to follow the progress of the project and would attend future meetings. The county has scheduled another public information meeting in October, when more complete plans of a possible route will be presented.