Work on the first stretch of the Lewis and Clark Expressway in Sugar Creek — part of the vast eastern Jackson County highway project discussed for decades — is scheduled to start Friday.
By BRIAN BURNES
The Kansas City Star
The approximately $2.4 million Sugar Creek project will remove a traffic roundabout, extend Sterling Avenue north about 1,000 feet, and also install a trail head and a 9/11 memorial.
“This will basically be the initial entrance to the expressway,” said Sugar Creek Mayor Stan Salva.
As now planned, the Lewis and Clark Expressway would run north through eastern Independence and unincorporated Jackson County before turning left, or west, and traveling just south of the Missouri River through Sugar Creek and then into Kansas City.
A seven-mile stretch of the Little Blue Parkway in eastern Independence, scheduled to be completed this year, will mark the completion of the expressway’s first leg.
Expressway plans also include a trail that is envisioned as leaving Sugar Creek and following the expressway to Kansas City’s Berkley Riverfront Park, said Ron Martinovich, Sugar Creek city administrator. The Sugar Creek project, accordingly, incorporates a trail head that will include a parking lot, a small park shelter and a pedestrian bridge across a creek — Sugar Creek.
The project also will include a 9/11 memorial.
This will be the permanent site for a steel remnant of the World Trade Center that Sugar Creek public safety agencies applied for and received in 2011 from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Plans call for four glass panels, one for each aircraft lost in the terrorist attack, to stand around the remnant.
Officials expect the entire project to be completed this fall.
”We hope that this will be enough to catch the attention of our friends in Washington so we have some transportation money,” Salva said.
The current project is being funded by federal transportation appropriations dating back several years, Martinovich said.
The roundabout, near the intersection of Sterling Avenue and Kentucky Road, was completed in 2004 as part of a reuse agreement negotiated between Sugar Creek and BP, which had merged with Amoco. The former Standard Oil refinery in Sugar Creek, which had opened in 1904, closed in 1982, prompting extenstive environmental remediation of the area.
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