Center Junction light project may start next week

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The preliminary work for another Center Junction had to be finished first.

Preliminary work on a 10-mile road resurfacing project is winding down at Center Junction just in time for a lighting project to get underway -- perhaps as early as next week, transportation officials said Friday.

"We had to get this work done before the other crews could get in here for the lighting project," said Stan Johnson, an engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation.

During the last three weeks, MoDOT crews have been resurfacing the shoulders on the ramps at the intersection of Interstate 55 and U.S. 61 as preliminary work to a 2006 paving project.

Johnson said the preliminary work includes removing and replacing some asphalt along the exit and entrance ramps at the intersection. That would strengthen up the shoulders, he said, adding that the work was expected to be completed late Friday afternoon or early next week.

"We really need to strengthen those shoulders before they come in next year to do the big job," Johnson said.

That project is preliminary work for another $4.7 million project to begin next summer that would resurface 10 1/2 miles of pavement from U.S. 61 near Sonic in Jackson to the South Kingshighway I-55 exit ramp in Cape Girardeau.

The $4.7 million also will pay for resurfacing of pavement and six miles of shoulders on Route K from Route 25 at Gordonville to Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau. The contract was awarded to Apex Paving Co. of Cape Girardeau.

The preliminary work needed to be done by early next week before crews could get in there to begin the lighting project, Johnson said. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held within the next couple of weeks.

High-mast, standards lights

The $201,784 lighting project includes a combination of roadway lighting and high-mast lighting to be installed. High-mast lighting illuminates more uniformly than standard roadway lighting and covers a large area, said MoDOT spokeswoman Angie Wilson.

Two high-mast lights will be installed, each which will have six to eight bulbs each that can be pointed in a different direction at the top of the 125-foot pole. Standard lighting will be included at the ramps where they connect to the interstate. The work is expected to be done in about a month.

The project is a cost-share program between MoDOT and the cities of Cape Girardeau and Jackson, said Jackson public works director Rodney Bollinger. Bollinger said that MoDOT originally had the project slated for a few years down the road, but both Cape Girardeau and Jackson leaders thought it needed to be done sooner.

"Our mayors and boards said it needed to be lit as soon as possible with all that traffic," Bollinger said.

So the two cities borrowed the money with a state innovative finance application, which calls for the money to be paid back to the cities in the year in which MoDOT had scheduled the work to be done. Bollinger said the cities would be reimbursed in 2007, the year MoDOT originally wanted to do the project.

Bollinger said the work is sorely needed.

"It will be much brighter and safer," he said.

335-6611, extension 137

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