Today's Question: Is extending Stadium worth the money?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 | 11:16 a.m. CDT

After years of research and discourse, the Missouri Department of Transportation has decided on a "preferred alternative" for its proposed extension of Stadium Boulevard.

Highway planners selected the final proposal from a group of nine plans introduced in November 2006.

The chosen alternative calls for extending Stadium east of U.S. 63 to the Lake of the Woods interchange at Interstate 70 and St. Charles Road. The plan would also extend Ballenger Lane and widen Broadway as far east as Olivet Road.

The proposed construction would displace 37 buildings, including 15 homes.

Most of the comments from the public at an open house held to discuss the project Thursday were positive, according to MoDOT assistant district engineer Eric Shroeter.

But not everyone at the meeting was supportive. Dale Coble, who has lived on St. Charles Road for 14 years, is concerned that the project will split his property down the middle, but MoDOT will only purchase the narrow strip of land necessary for the road. Others voiced initial concern about possible commercialization and the clearing of trees for the project.

The greatest mystery currently surrounding the project is how state, county and city officials plan to fund it. The total cost for the preferred plan would be $132.2 million. Currently, none of that money has been raised and there has been no discussion of where it might come from.

If it does not fit into MoDOT's budget, then more might need to be contributed locally.

A final plan will not be drafted until the end of the summer, and MoDOT will continue accepting public comment on the East Columbia Environment Impact Statement Web site.

Is extending Stadium Boulevard an important enough project to justify its $132.2 million price tag?

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