I-55, 32 Intersection Stoplights Are Region’s Top Priority
By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
One of the Ste. Genevieve County Commission’s big goals moved a step closer to possible realization last week.
The county’s current top priority for a Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) project within the county, the addition of stoplights at the intersection of Interstate 55 and US Highway 32, west of Ste. Genevieve, is now also the region’s top priority.
Each county submits its priority list to the Southeast Missouri Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC). The TAC, which meets quarterly in Perryville, is comprised of seven counties. The members then vote on the top seven regional priorities to preset to MoDOT.
For years the commissioners have fought to get stoplights added at the intersection, which also includes exits for Routes A and B, as well as Beehlman Truck Lines, all within about a half-mile radius of the actual intersection.
Drew Christian of the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission informed the commissioners that the TAC members selected it as the top-priority project for the seven-county area recent balloting.
“This is something we’ve wanted for several years,” Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson said. “It’s been our top priority the past two years. Stoplights are badly needed there. It’s a very dangerous spot. To see it voted most important in the seven counties is encouraging.”
First District Commissioner Karen Stuppy called it “super exciting.”
Of course, funding and other considerations will also come into play in determining when and if MoDOT follows through with the project.
Later in the meeting the commissioners stressed that it should not be the county’s responsibility to pay for any engineering studies for the project.
BOYD ROAD NOT A GOOD CANDIDATE
R.J. Clements contacted the commission about the possibility of Boyd Road being paved.
Nelson said that while he intends to see all county roads eventually paved, Boyd is not a top candidate.
The road begins at Route WW in the southern part of the county and runs into Perry County. It runs alongside Saline Creek for most of its path. This has led to many flooding events, including in January 2020, when the road was “completely taken out,” in the words of road and bridge foreman Scott Schmieder at the time.
“It’s almost impossible because of the creek,” Nelson said. “I’ve seen it 10 feet over the road.”
SCHMIEDER READY TO GET NEW TRUCK
Schmieder reported that the county’s recently-ordered Western Star dump truck should be ready “sometime in September.” It will be delivered to Viking-Cives in Morley, where the bed will be installed.
Nelson suggested that it would be good for Stuppy and Second District Commissioner Randy Ruzicka, to tour the Morley plant so they can get “a good understanding of how the hydraulics works” on the trucks, and why they county goes with Viking-Cives, who uses only top-grade steel.
It was agreed that instead of having the truck delivered here, Schmieder and the two associate commissioners, in office only since January, will pick the truck up at Morley. Stuppy and Ruzicka will tour the plant and Schmieder will drive the truck back.
Schmieder also reported that his crews have been trying to keep up with mowing.
He also said that paving was taking place on Saline Creek Road that day, with three trucks being used for the 6/10 of a mile stretch.
Meanwhile, a ditch on Jersey Lane is being cleaned out, he said.
APPRECIATE SKAGGS EXPLAINING THINGS
The commissioners agreed that former fair board president Keith Skaggs did a good job of explaining the county’s situation regarding liquor sales on county property on Facebook.
In 2020, the county fair had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. Skaggs received permission to hold a truck and tractor pull that October, however.
This year the fair was held, but several people on Facebook were questioning why a separate truck pull was not being held this fall. Skaggs, who had his battles with the commission during his tenure as fair board president, explained on the post that the commission is hemmed in by new state statutes and insurance requirements. Because of this the commission’s attorney has advised that liquor may only be sold on county property during the county fair. The lack of beer sales, in many organizers’ minds, makes holding various events on county property a losing financial proposition.
The commissioners expressed appreciation for Skaggs clearly explaining the situation on Facebook.
“Keith did a good job,” Nelson said. “He summarized it pretty well,” associate county clerk Michele Gatzemeyer added.