With an interest in developing a comprehensive plan for the city, a Richmond Chamber of Commerce Committee has been working a key piece of a plan for transportation.
Ray County Transportation Director Larry Goodloe, who heads the chamber committee, commissioned to look at a plan, outlined some of the work and ideas the group has been working on for well over a year.
Goodloe, who made the presentation to the Richmond Kiwanis Club, along with City Administrator Rick Childers, said the committee was formed after it was obvious that many different business owners and other entities were interested in certain transportation projects.
“The chamber saw that there really was a need to get something done,” Goodloe said.
According to Goodloe and Childers, there were two main groups that drove the chamber towards forming a committee to look at transportation issues.
Childers said one group approached him late summer/early fall of last year about installing another intersection with a light near the south end of Wal-Mart to Highway 13. Shortly after, Childers said that Continental Siding and the Richmond Middle School were interested in getting better access to Highway 10 from Wellington Street.
“I don’t know if you’ve been out by the middle school when they are dismissing classes, but it is a real mess and they have nowhere to go,” Goodloe said in describing the scene during school let out time.
Goodloe said the committee has come up with several ideas to alleviate some of the problems that have been raised. He said the committee has also met with MoDOT engineers on more than one occasion to get input, but said they indicated that an overall transportation plan would be needed to proceed with a suggestion.
“MoDOT has advised us that they are really not going to accept any of our recommendations or requests until such time as the Richmond area has a master service transportation plan put together,” Goodloe said. “That’s a very big undertaking to develop a transportation plan, and it’s very costly.”
Childers added that with a transportation plan, the likelihood of getting a project approved would be tripled.
Goodloe estimated that a master transportation plan would cost about $100,000 to complete. Childers said Surface Transportation Project Grants could be used to develop a plan but the city would still need to come up with about $20,000 of the total.
Goodloe said the Wal-Mart Foundation, business contributions and 1/2-cent sales tax funds could also be tapped into for a plan.
Childers said of the many ideas that the committee has come up with, they are only ideas for engineers to have somewhere to begin.
“Engineering works better when you have some places to suggest to start,” Childers said. “We’re not looking at this as ‘Oh, that’s the place a road needs to be.’ From a construction standpoint, is this a reasonable area to look at?”
Childers said a transportation plan is a critical piece in developing a new compressive plan for the city. He said a master transportation plan would involve a lot of public input and feedback before it is complete.
“It’s not all that comprehensive, and it doesn’t have much detail,” Childers said about the current plan the city has. “Some of the things we need to move forward on – we need to have a community-wide understanding of what direction we are going. From a long range planning standpoint, it’s really nice to have a good road plan in place.”