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By Sue Sterling/Warrensburg Star-Journal
Kansas City – Missouri Highway 13 Coalition Corridor Chairman Bill Bernier urged the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission to leverage “an already significant investment” in the roadway to upgrade remaining two-lane sections of the road between Clinton and Hamilton.
The coalition, composed of city, county and economic development representatives from a five-county area, wants the road upgraded to a four-lane highway to bolster economic development in the area and alleviate traffic congestion on other roads.
Bernier said the state already has made a significant investment in the roadway, building “a beautiful four-lane highway” from Springfield to Highway 7 at Clinton, and the “beautiful Ike Skelton Bridge over the Missouri River.”
A more recent investment is the East Loop around Warrensburg, he said, “that helps get truck traffic out of the middle of town and out of the middle of a 12,000-student campus.”
He presented a notebook to the commission that contains 52 letters of support from leaders in the counties and communities who back “the Highway 13 Coalition’s vision for the future of the corridor,” he said.
Last month, Richmond approved a resolution supporting Highway 13 becoming a four-lane highway from Clinton to Highway 36. The group asked for letters of support for the cause. Along with the council resolution, City Administrator Ron Brohammer and Mayor Mike Wright would also write letters of support, the city administrator said.
Along the corridor, “Every state representative and every state senator and every mayor is in support,” Bernier said.
He said funding is an issue, and obtaining funds requires public support, which in turn requires the public to have an interest in the project.
“We’re out there getting support,” Bernier said.
The corridor between Springfield and the Iowa border touches four interstates, 12 counties, 28 hospitals and 13 universities, including the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, “the only state four-year institution that does not have four-lane access to an interstate,” he said.