Improving County Roads
The Highway Department's mission is to provide timely and cost-effective maintenance and responsible improvement of St. Charles County's roadway network to facilitate safe and efficient travel county-wide.
Funding for major road improvements, which can include widening and/or realigning for safety purposes, comes predominantly from proceeds from the ½-cent transportation sales tax collected on all purchases throughout St. Charles County. This tax was first approved by the voters in the early 1980s and has been re-approved several times.
The other source of revenue used for major improvements on county roads is federal funds distributed by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments through the Missouri Department of Transportation. St. Charles County competes for these funds each year with the other counties and cities in the St. Louis metro region. Funding amounts vary from year to year, but this money has been used to pay for up to 80 percent of the costs on many of the County Highway Department’s major road improvements.
The first step in implementing a major road improvement is to develop engineering plans in sufficient detail to guide the new construction. The County Highway Department typically contracts with outside consulting engineering firms with expertise in transportation improvements to develop these engineering plans.
Before improvements can begin, it must be determined how much more space is needed to construct the new roadway. The engineering firms hired to prepare the plans will draw up the improvements with an effort towards minimizing the impact on adjacent property owners. However, many times additional ground is needed to build the improved roadway, either on a permanent or temporary basis.
With the information provided by the consulting engineers, the County will go out and meet with each affected property owner on a particular project and make a monetary offer for the ground needed from them. In most cases, an equitable agreement is made between the county and the property owners. In cases where an agreement can't be reached, the matter may be taken to court to decide the fair amount of compensation.
Once all the needed property has been acquired and the engineering plans are completed, the County will put the road improvement project out for bid. Area contractors bid on the work, and following all necessary approvals, a contract is awarded to the lowest responsible, responsive bidder. The length of construction, as well as the impact on residents and motorists, varies depending on the scope of the project.