A move to protect the integrity of Hermann’s residential streets — that’s the underlying reasoning that City Hall officials are expected to use tomorrow morning in arguing for a new bridge over Frene Creek as Gasconade County officials, a regional planner and a state transit agency engineer meet to cobble a new wish-list of road-and-bridge projects for the next five years.
At 11 a.m., the County Commission is scheduled to meet with Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) Executive Director Bonnie Prigge and MoDOT Area Engineer Preston Kramer to discuss potential transit projects in Gasconade County to be included in the state’s latest version of the 5-year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).
The plan is an on-going document, updated each year to replace projects that have been finished, delayed or abandoned with new projects or ones that have been on the list in earlier years but not selected for funding.
Hermann Mayor Robert Koerber last week said city government officials plan to attend the meeting and make their case for a new Market Street bridge over Frene Creek. City Hall wants a bridge that’s elevated out of the flood plain allowing Highway 19 to remain open during high water. That would preclude the need to divert traffic — especially heavy traffic such as tractor-trailer rigs — through a maze of city residential streets in order to get around flooded areas.
During flooding this spring, the city experienced damage to several streets as a result of heavy-vehicle traffic, officials said.
“Our streets simply aren’t made for that,” the mayor told The Hermann Advertiser-Courier.
Even if a new Frene Creek bridge is deemed a priority project on the list that will be drafted tomorrow, there’s no certainty that it will be among the final list of transit projects approved for the 8-county Meramec Region. Here’s how the selection process works:
• Tomorrow’s meeting will produce a list of potential road-and-bridge projects within Gasconade County. Similar lists are being produced for the seven other counties in the Meramec Region.
• All those lists will be considered in December by MRPC’s Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), which will select the region’s master list of projects from among those on the 8 member counties’ lists.
• MRPC will submit the regional priority list to MoDOT for inclusion in the updated 5-year TIP. Projects will be dealt with as funding is made available for them.
There are several other bridge projects, as well as road improvements, in the county that officials would like to see rated as priority items. One of those is the Great Depression-era one-lane bridge on Highway J across First Creek.
That span last year was described by officials as one of the worst bridges in the county and possibly the entire region; however, the limited number of vehicles using that bridge daily has kept it from being designated a priority item on the regional list of projects.