Sugar Creek is getting closer to building a key piece of the Lewis and Clark Expressway project.

Sugar Creek is getting closer to building a key piece of the Lewis and Clark Expressway project.

The city plans to extend Sterling Avenue to the north starting in 2012 and is now taking public comments on that.

Design work is being done for a three-lane extension of Sterling to a bridge over the BNSF tracks and a connection with Cement City Road. That would also give access to the Independence water treatment facility in that area, and there would be a bridge over Sugar Creek – the actual creek – spanning the BP maintenance access roads on the east and west sides of the city. 

Bob Orr of Wilbur Smith Associates is the project manager. He is taking comments and questions from the public, and anyone affected by the project can request a public hearing. A decision on a public hearing hasn’t been made yet.
Those requests have to be submitted in writing by Sept. 21. Orr is at Wilbur Smith Associates, 10401 Holmes Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64131. Maps and plans are available for inspection there, and the cities of Sugar Creek and Independence have the plans too.

Officials have said the roadway would get large trucks off city streets in Sugar Creek and Independence and that it would open the area to renewed economic – perhaps industrial – development. About 100 trucks a day come in and out of the BP facility on the site of the old refinery, officials have said.

The expressway would run east from Front Street in the East Bottoms of Kansas City. It would pass west of the Bayer Corp. plant, cross the Blue River and then run east between that river and the BNSF tracks before flowing into Cement City Road on the north edge of Sugar Creek.

The Sterling Avenue project would be a spur that connects the expressway essentially to the front door of the BP facility.

The Front Street-to-Sugar Creek piece would be part of the eventual 23-mile Lewis and Clark Expressway, which would arc from U.S. 40 and Little Blue Expressway to the north through the valley of the Little Blue River, then west, ultimately to the Chouteau Bridge in Kansas City. With the extension of Little Blue Expressway north to U.S. 24 (coming out near Powell Road), a key piece will be in place. That’s expected to be done next spring.

The last piece – from Sugar Creek all the way east to the Little Blue Valley Expressway in eastern Independence – is many years away, officials have said.