COLUMBIA — Along the west side of Cathy Hatfield's property on Route E is a row of five or six cottonwood trees.
But these could be replaced by an extension of Gibbs Road, based on a proposed plan intended to diverge traffic from Stadium Boulevard.
"We had peace and quiet there for 20 years," Hatfield's son, John Hatfield, said. "And now you're going to have a two- or four-lane highway."
About 100 community members discussed different options for the proposed Scott Boulevard extension project with planning agencies Thursday evening. Representatives from the city of Columbia; Crawford, Bunte, Brammeier Traffic Transportation Engineers; Louis Group; and Bartlett & West were present to meet with residents. The project would bring Scott Boulevard north to Interstate 70, develop a new interchange and then extend what is Gibbs Road north up to Route E.
The meeting was part of a public comment period that runs through Oct. 22 about the environmental assessment review, which is a report about how the project would impact the environment. Currently, there is no funding for the design or the project, and, therefore, there is not a tentative timeline established, consulting project manager Shawn Leight said.
People at the open house Thursday had mixed reactions to the project, with many commenting about how they thought the extension project could be improved.
John Hatfield said the north side of I-70 isn't more developed now than it was decades ago.
"If there was a subdivision up here in need, then OK," he said.
He said the Scott Boulevard extension and the new I-70 interchange make sense but not the extension of Gibbs Road because that area has remained largely untouched over the decades.
Lois Douglass, who owns 35 acres around Gibbs Road and called herself "disgruntled," said she thinks the road is fine how it is. She questioned where the road would be placed.
"We already got a blacktop (road) that we fought like the dickens to get," she said. "I don't see the point."
Elenore Loesing said she would like to see the project implemented but in a different location. Her house is just off Strawn Road, and the project would go right through her yard, she said. While she doesn't oppose the plan, she said it should be put somewhere else.
Leight — the consultant who works for the company managing the consulting aspect of the project — said it's better to have these discussions before the project begins, rather than when people see bulldozers headed toward their driveways.
Leight said the agencies leading the project will read through the comments from the public comment period and take the input into consideration when contemplating the design of the project.
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