MDC partners with Crawford County to repair road to conservation areas

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Saint Louis
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CRAWFORD COUNTY, Mo. — “What I see is, if you have a problem, you just fix it,” said Paul Watson, Associate Commissioner, District One of Crawford County. The problem was Valleyside Road off Highway 19, south of Steelville in Crawford County. Watson came to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) for the solution.

MDC works with and for counties to ensure conservation areas and facilities are accessible to all Missourians. One of the tools that makes this possible is the County Aid Road Trust Program (CART). CART is a cost-share program with counties and townships administered by MDC to help with applying maintenance rock on county roadways enrolled in the program. 

“The CART Program assists county road districts in purchasing road rock for their roads that go through or are adjacent to an MDC area. The purpose is to make it easier for the public to access our conservation areas with better road conditions,” said Mike Norris, MDC Construction and Maintenance Superintendent for the St. Louis Region.

Maintaining public roadways is primarily the responsibility of the agency owning the roadway. However MDC may provide CART funds if use of MDC areas and facilities has a direct impact on these roadways. 

“5.5 miles of Valleyside Road travel through accesses to both the John N. and Melba S. Anderson and the Pearl G. and John J. Sizemore Memorial Conservation Areas,” Norris pointed out.  “Crawford County applied for CART funding and was approved to enroll in the program.”

“We talked to the Conservation Department about building up the road since it was worn out. It was real sandy,” Watson said.

MDC provided the funding to purchase the base rock needed to resurface the road through CART. Crawford County Road District One supplied the labor and heavy equipment required to get the job done. The project spanned two years, with two of the five and a half miles being completed in 2015 and the final three and half in 2016. 

The results have been a success and have garnered praise from area residents. “They brag on how this road turned out, and we’ve explained to them it wouldn’t have gotten this way if it hadn’t been for the Conservation Department,” Watson said.

“Valleyside Road is just one of the CART projects in the St. Louis region,” explained Norris. “We have over 20 miles of roadways that benefit from the program not only in Crawford, but other counties, too, like Warren and Lincoln.”

Counties wanting to explore the possibility of enrolling roads with conservation areas or access in the CART program should contact 573-522-4115, ext. 3722, or email  All requests for cost share through CART are reviewed to verify the area has significant impact on the roadway to determine if funding is appropriate.

“We really appreciate the Conservation Department,” Watson said. “I could not have afforded out of my budget to do this road without their help.  It has been a great service to the County of Crawford and the people who live in this area.”