Wildwood’s City Council is set to vote, on June 26, on a resolution that would allow the city to apply for 2017 Missouri Department of Transportation cost-share program funding for improvements to Hwy. 109.
The council, during a June 12 work session, approved drafting the necessary legislation by a 14-1 vote with Councilmember Debra Smith McCutchen [Ward 5] opposed and Councilmember Don Bartoni [Ward 2] absent.
During the work session, Rick Brown, the city’s director of public works/city engineer, said that MoDOT recently re-authorized the program for 2017, with $10 million available statewide, and is accepting applications. Funding for the cost-share program will increase to $15 million in 2018 and $25 million in 2019, Brown said.
The minimum required local match for the program is 50 percent, though providing a higher local match would result in a more favorable application review, Brown said. Preferred projects are those that MoDOT would consider regional priorities; projects must be on state roads.
The application deadline for the current round of funding is June 30, though Brown said reviews are conducted three times per year. If a project is selected, the sponsor would have to enter into a funding agreement with MoDOT within six months.
Brown recently met with MoDOT’s area engineer, Karen Yeomans, to discuss the funding program – any project submitted for funding requires a letter of support from MoDOT, as well as the East-West Gateway Council of Governments. The city has identified improvements on Hwy. 109 from Hwy. 100 to south of Cambury Lane/Hawthorne Village Parkway for the application. Those improvements include widening Hwy. 109 with a new roundabout at the eastbound Hwy. 100 ramps as well as widening Hwy. 109 to four lanes and modifying the existing roundabout at the westbound Hwy. 100 ramps. Brown noted that this is the same project reviewed by the council earlier this year and unsuccessfully submitted for federal CMAQ [Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement] funding in March.
The cost of the proposed project – which would be done in 2018 if funding is approved – is estimated to be $1.9 million, and Brown recommended the city provide a 50 percent local match of $950,000.
Brown said obtaining state funds can leverage the city’s existing capital improvement funds, and the planned improvements would complete the interchange improvements at Hwy. 100 and are part of the corridor plan developed with MoDOT. Recently completed improvements on Hwy. 109 to the north have slowed traffic, improved traffic flow and safety, and provided improved bike and pedestrian facilities within the corridor, Brown said. He added that improvements to the road can continue to the south in later phases of work not covered by this application. If the funding isn’t approved for this application, the city could try again later, providing a larger local match to “sweeten the odds,” Brown said.
Councilmember Larry McGowen [Ward 1] said he had concerns about overall traffic volume in that area, especially with more than 300 new homes recently approved. However, Brown said a recent comprehensive city traffic study on Hwy. 109 considered the impact of the new homes on the area for 20 years in the future to still call for an acceptable level of traffic on that road. While Brown said all drivers, no matter where they live, were factored into the traffic study, Councilmember Larry Goodson [Ward 8] estimated that about half of those using Hwy. 109 during morning and evening peak traffic hours aren’t even Wildwood residents. “So this is a complex issue,” he said.