ENGLEWOOD, Mo. - Residents of Englewood met with Columbia Regional Airport Manager Mike Parks on Thursday to voice their concerns about a plan to close Route H through their town.
The road was scheduled to be closed because it is being moved so the airport can expand one of its runways.
Boone County Commissioner Fred Parry, state Rep. Sara Walsh, and Fire Chief James Bullard, from the Southern Boone County Fire Protection District, also attended the meeting.
Sharon Adams, an Englewood resident, organized the meeting. She said after making calls following a previous meeting with airport officials, she realized not everyone had a clear understanding of the impacts the closure would have.
City spokesman Steve Sapp said the city has been communicating with residents of Englewood about the closure. Adams said she has had an open line of communication with the city and Parks about the project.
Adams said residents had major concerns because Route H is their primary way in and out of town besides gravel roads.
"Route H is our lifeline between Highway 63, and it ends at the Cedar Creek going into Callaway County," she said.
Adams said there were no clear plans on how Englewood residents' lives would be impacted during the closure, which was originally supposed to be 60 days but is now down to 30.
"There was no route planned for emergency vehicles, school buses that pick up children and deliver them every day, mail carriers, trash pickup, UPS trucks," she said.
She then started contacting county and emergency officials.
Bullard had similar concerns about how the closure would impact response times.
"Any loss of ability to response quickly can adversely affect if your house is on fire, or if somebody's bleeding, or if somebody's doing CPR on a cardiac arrest victim, it can adversely affect outcomes," he said.
Residents at the meetings also raised concerns about having school buses on Highway 63 and how farmers would get to their fields with large equipment.
As a result of the discussions with Englewood residents, the city is discussing keeping Rangeline Road to the south of Englewood open and creating a bypass to maintain full access from Highway 63 to Englewood. Those plans are subject to change as engineers look at their options.
Residents will meet with engineers and city officials again to discuss the work as soon as next week.