Fair official says new state road would end county fair

MoDOT official thinks road can be redesigned

Callaway County residents living near a proposed new state road from U.S. 54 to the Callaway Energy Center check out a large map during a MoDOT open house and public comment event Tuesday afternoon at the Callaway County Library.

Callaway County residents living near a proposed new state road from U.S. 54 to the Callaway Energy Center check out a large map during a MoDOT open house and public comment event Tuesday afternoon at the Callaway County Library. Photo by Don Norfleet.

MoDOT’s planned Callaway County Connector road would require relocation of the Callaway County Fair, a member of the Callaway County Fair Board said Tuesday.

During an open house and public comment meeting Tuesday afternoon at the Callaway County Public Library, Billy Spencer, fair board member, said it won’t be possible for the fair to operate if the road is built along the preferred northern route as planned.

Callaway County residents jammed the library’s parking lot and the small meeting room where MoDOT’s open house and public comment event was held.

Large maps were posted on a table and at other locations throughout the room. Interested residents of the area peered at the map to determine if their home, business or farm would be impacted by the road.

Spencer said the route of the road would take the area where the carnival now operates at the fair and most of the parking space for the fair.

“Without parking, I don’t see how the fair could continue at the current site,” Spencer said.

Spencer said the preferred northern route planned by MoDOT also takes his home and his wife’s day care business. “My home at 6961 State Road AD is located in the middle of the planned new road,” Spencer said.

Spencer said another complication for the fair is insurance regulations that require the fair to be operated away from a roadway to prevent people from walking near a high-speed road.

Mike Dusenberg, a MoDOT project engineer, said he was not aware of the impact to the fair that he was hearing at the meeting.

“If there is a problem, we want to hear about it now. To avoid disrupting the fair, I think it may be possible to redesign the roadway near the fairgrounds and go a slightly different route,” Dusenberg said.

Dusenberg said he would like to find a way to have the road enhance the fair instead of disrupting it. “A new road passing by the fairgrounds could enhance the fair by giving it better visibility and better public access,” Dusenberg said.

MoDOT is offering two alternatives for the Callaway County Connector. MoDOT’s preferred route going by the fairgrounds is the northern route, which would cost $32.8 million. The southern route is about one mile longer and cost about $46 million.

The southern route is not near the fairgrounds.

Former Fulton Mayor Paul Craghead said he owns about 500 acres of farmland in the Hams Prairie area and the route does not touch his land but it goes through the middle of a farm owned by his son, Paul Craghead.

“We need the road to help our county and expand our businesses,” Craghead said.

Dusenberg said expansion of the Callaway Energy Center by adding small modular nuclear reactors would speed the building of the road but there currently is no funding designated to build the roadway.

Known as the Callaway County Connector, the new roadway starts at a point about 100 feet north of the Route H intersection with U.S. 54 on the south side of Fulton.

The new roadway will extend south of Fulton about one and one-half miles and then extend to the southeast to Hams Prairie. At this point the road would use the existing roadway along Route AD and continue east along the existing County Road 428 to the Auxvasse River, where a new bridge would be constructed.

The Callaway County Collector would then veer north to improve part of the existing Route O roadway and continue to Route CC. It then would go south along Route CC to the entrance of the Callaway Energy Center.

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