The Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission (MHTC) approved a project agreement between the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and Sullivan County to provide up to $9.2 million in a local match for the $13.4 Million BUILD Grant for road and bridge infrastructure around the East Locust Creek Reservoir. While work remains to secure a Grant Agreement with the Federal Highway Administration, MHTC’s approval represents a giant step forward.
The project agreement was necessary to advance the BUILD Grant project. Sullivan County was notified of the award of the BUILD Grant in November of 2019. Since that time, local, state, and federal agencies have been working on the complexities of overlaying a $22.6 Million road and bridge project on a $150 million lake project. The challenge has been enormous, requiring support from Senator Blunt, Congressman Graves, and Governor Parson. All of whom have been ardent advocates for the ELCR project and subsequently the BUILD Project.
The BUILD Grant will provide funding for roads, bridges, and pedestrian walkways in the lake area. Some 8 miles of paved roads will be created or improved and some 17 miles of gravel roads will be improved as a result of the BUILD Grant providing improved accessibility into and around the lake. These improvements were critical to accessibility to public areas, but also for safety and first responder response times.
Chris May, Presiding Commissioner of Sullivan, “This is huge for Sullivan County and the region. Without adequate road and bridge infrastructure, the ELCR could not achieve its economic development
potential. I want to thank MoDOT Director, Patrick McKenna, and Department of Economic Development Director, Rob Dixon for coming up with a way forward and for the MHTC Commissioners for their approval.”
Harve Rhodes, Chairman of the North Central Missouri Regional Water Commission (NCMRWC), stated, “Senator Blunt and Congressman Graves have advocated for the ELCR every step of the way, the BUILD Grant is only the latest evidence of their great leadership. In addition, Governor Parson has provided massive support to water infrastructure across the state, but especially for the ELCR. Sullivan County and the North Central Region have benefitted from outstanding leadership from the federal and state delegation.”
Brad Scott, General Manager of the NCMRWC stated, “We hope to start work on Construction Access, Utility Relocation and Clearing as early as this fall, pending federal approvals. When you combine the construction of the lake with the construction of the roads and bridges, Sullivan County and the region are about to experience unparalleled construction activities for several years. Once we are allowed to start the work won’t stop until completion.”
Brad Scott added, “Senator Blunt and Congressman Graves have been incredible leaders and Governor Parson has been a godsend at a time when we needed help. Coming together at a local, state, and federal level in bipartisan cooperation is what the public expects and it is what has been delivered at ELCR. President Trumps BUILD Grant program will enable ELCR to be all that it can be for future generations.”
Harve Rhodes added, “I also want to commend the engineering team of Allstate Consultants and Cook, Flatt, and Strobel for their incredible work on the BUILD Grant. They went well above the call of duty before and after the BUILD award. So few rural projects are awarded; this was truly an outstanding accomplishment, for which they can be proud. We are so fortunate to have them on our team.”
The ELCR is sponsored on the federal level by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and will be owned by the NCMRWC. The multi-purpose, 2, 352-acre reservoir will provide desperately needed water supply, but also flood mitigation and recreational opportunities.