The Chester Bridge study continues to move forward, as the Missouri Department of Transportation will hold its first community advisory group meeting next Wednesday, July 19, at the Chester Public Library.
The meeting is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. MoDOT is expected to have a number of representatives in attendance.
"The CAG meeting is open to the public, but is intended for one-on-one dialogue between the study team and the CAG," said Buddy Desai, consultant project manager with engineering firm CH2M, in a Thursday email to local media. "Other stakeholders are welcome to observe during the meeting and the study team members will be available afterwards for any discussions with non-CAG stakeholders."
Desai has previously defined "stakeholders" as "anyone who has interest in the project."
"Stakeholders, in the simplest terms, is anyone who has interest in the project," he previously said. "We will be developing a mailing/email list of stakeholders so we can convey study information to them such as when we will be conducting public meetings."
The CAG was selected by CH2M and MoDOT and will reportedly consist of 20 members who will meet four times during the bridge study process.
"We try to pick people who represent not just one viewpoint," Desai said during a sit-down interview with local media on June 7 at the Chester Welcome Center. "Because they'll skew the direction of where things go.
"It's a little bit simpler on this project because it's a bridge, but when we're dealing with roads, if you get a whole bunch of landowners, they're going to skew it away from their house."
In an email to the Herald Tribune Friday afternoon, Desai said the list was still being finalized.
"We are still confirming the attendance of some of the CAG members," he said. "We want to wait until the list is final (and) agreements to join are received."
During Friday's meeting of the Randolph County commissioners, Economic Development Coordinator Chris Martin confirmed he was part of the group.
Chester Mayor Tom Page told the Herald Tribune he had received a letter last week advising him of the meeting at the library and planned to attend. Robert Cox, managing editor of the The Republic-Monitor in Perryville, confirmed Perryville Police Chief Direk Hunt has also received a letter.
Additional persons confirmed to have received letters are Perryville City Administrator Brent Buerck, Perry County Economic Development Director Scott Sattler and Perry County commissioners James Sutterer, Carl "Topper" Lueckle Jr. and Jay Wengert. Randolph County Board Chairman Ronnie White confirmed to the Herald Tribune that the board received a letter addressed to the chairman.
Hunt's counterpart in Chester, Police Chief Ryan Coffey, also confirmed his attendance and stated he was looking forward to it.
"My hopes are we get a new bridge and it's as located as close to this other one as we can get it," Page said. "and it will be safer than the current bridge and a lot wider."
Desai stated that the first public information meeting on the project is being planned for mid-to-late August and the group is looking for suitable locations in Chester.
"This will be an open house meeting where all stakeholders are encouraged to attend to get more information related to the study and our progress, and to provide feedback/suggestions," he said in the email.
According to the Chester Bridge souvenir program of the August 23, 1942 grand opening celebration, members of the original bridge committee included J.R. Hanson, William Welge, Leo Wolff, Chester Cowell, Kenneth Paulter, W.M. G. Juergens, WM. J. Schuwerk and Harvey Doerge.