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Officials outline major
transportation needs

by Kim Fickett
Landmark editor

Area county and city officials presented Congressman Sam Graves with their entities' transportation needs at Friday's transportation advisory committee meeting at the county administration building.

Platte County Commissioner Steve Wegner, Clay County Commissioner Craig Porter and Blue Springs City Administrator Fred Siems spoke to Graves as well as nearly 20 other individuals in attendance regarding their top transportation priorities.

"By holding these meetings this will show a unified front in Washington, D.C.," said Jacob DiPietre, press secretary for Graves.

"They will allow us to have a good prioritized list of transportation for projects in Clay and Platte County that need the most attention."

Graves, who is the only person from Missouri to serve on the transportation committee, will be able to hear first hand of earmarked funds that would be available for projects across the United States.

"Being the only person from Missouri on the committee, as well as being from the 6th District is a benefit for our district," stated Graves.

Wegner identified three safety issues as specific needs for Platte County at Friday's meeting.

The first was the bridge at Brush Creek over Weatherby Lake. With the construction of a new Park Hill School located to the west of the bridge, Wegner underlined this project as a "dangerous situation that poses traffic hazards."

"With the opening of the Hawthorne Elementary School next year and the economic development of that area, that puts a lot of added pressure on that bridge," said Wegner. "The bridge needs to be replaced."

Wegner also identified two intersections along 45 Highway that pose extreme danger. The first is Union Chapel Road, on which a 1998 Missouri Department of Transportation study reported that 9,800 trips per day were made at that intersection. ÊÊSince 1998, a major subdivision, The National, was developed to the south causing an increase in traffic congestion. In 2002, the estimated traffic per day stands at between 13,000-14,000 trips per day.

The second intersection Wegner discussed was 45 Highway and Brink-Myer Road.

"I'd love to see both these intersections improved just for the safety factor," stated Wegner. "The Brink-Myer Road intersection poses poor site and there is also heavy cross traffic between Union Chapel and 45 Highway."

Finally, Wegner addressed Jones-Myer Road between N Highway and 45 Highway. Jones-Myer, which is currently a gravel road, has begun to pick-up extreme highway traffic from Weston and Atchison, KS. Current figures show that 554 trips per day are made on the road, with 165 trips per day made on the weekends.

"Currently we're in the midst of our traffic study, but we're expecting Jones-Myer will probably be one of our priority roads," stated Wegner.

Wegner ended his presentation to Graves with these words, "This is our three wish lists we wanted to present to Congressman Graves. Any help that could be received for Platte County would be appreciated," said Wegner. "We feel those three projects are the ones that would make an immediate impact on Platte County."

Graves said: "There's no one who knows the needs of Platte County more then the people of Platte County and the representatives of Platte County."

Wegner admitted that the three presented to the Congressman are not the only issues in Platte County.

"There are several critical transportation issues in Platte County we have to look at. This is just one of the mechanisms to curing our problems," said Wegner.