City to widen Mount Auburn Road by next fall

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Motorists going to the mall or Doctors' Park could find themselves traveling on a wider Mount Auburn Road by next fall. Improvements will include a center turn lane and traffic signals, city officials said.

The Cape Girardeau City Council is expected to vote Monday night to authorize city staff to begin buying property to widen the busy thoroughfare from William Street south to Bloomfield Road.

Construction work could start next spring and be finished by fall, city engineer Jay Stencel said.

"We are leaving the existing road there and adding on both sides," Stencel said.

The city told voters five years ago that it would widen the street.

The $1.2 million project was included in the list of promised projects when voters approved a five-year extension of the half-cent transportation sales tax in August 2000.

Two months ago, voters extended the tax for another five years to pay for a new set of projects.

City officials said Mount Auburn Road needs widening to handle the growing amount of traffic in the area.

The project would widen the road from two lanes to five lanes. When finished, the 48-foot-wide street would have two northbound lanes, two southbound lanes and a center turn lane.

Improvements also would include new traffic signals at the Bloomfield Road intersection and at the intersection with Doctors' Park Drive and the Westfield West Park mall north entrance.

Mayor Jay Knudtson said increased development along the Interstate 55 corridor has boosted traffic on this stretch of Mount Auburn Road.

The street in this area already is wider -- at 44 feet -- than many two-lane roads in the city.

That should make it easier to work around traffic, city officials said. The city expects to keep northbound and southbound traffic flowing during construction.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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