Slowly but surely, local officials are working to take the first step in extending Stadium Boulevard east of U.S. 63 to Interstate 70’s Lake of the Woods exit.
Earlier this month, Columbia City Manager Ray Beck sent a letter to the Boone County Commission asking if it would be interested in joining the city and the Missouri Department of Transportation in paying for a purpose-and-need study to look at extending the road, also known as Missouri 740.
Beck’s letter was dated days before the City Council rezoned 42 acres of land for commercial use just east of where Stadium Boulevard ends at U.S. 63. While discussing the rezoning, the council and city staff said extending the street would be imperative to accommodate commercial development because there is no use in having businesses located at a dead end.
“As the area continues to develop, it becomes extremely important to set aside necessary right of way at the earliest date possible,” Beck said in the letter.
Extending the street east and north to Lake of the Woods has been on the city’s wish list since 1969. The Department of Transportation added the project to its list of major road projects in June 2002.
Beck’s letter proposes that the department provide half the estimated $1 million it would cost to do the study if matched by local government money. Although the city’s budget for fiscal 2005 includes $500,000 for the study, Beck’s letter asks that the county chip in as much as 25 percent of the local share.
Boone County Presiding Commissioner Keith Schnarre said commissioners have yet to discuss Beck’s letter. He said that the commission has supported extending Stadium for many years and that the time for action may have arrived.
“With the passage of Amendment 3, there’s a high possibility that 740 might move up on the list and looked at getting completed,” Schnarre said.
Columbia Public Works Director Lowell Patterson said extending Stadium Boulevard would help alleviate congestion at I-70 and U.S. 63, but it will take awhile.
“Realize it’s not something that will happen overnight or in the next two years, but the first steps have to be taken with corridor planning,” Patterson said.
Department of Transportation district engineer Roger Schwartze said the purpose-and-need study would be conducted by an independent consultant and would take at least a year.
“We’re still searching for funding at this point,” Schwartze said. “If there’s funding identified, the study could start fairly quickly.”