Cape city engineers split Bloomfield Road project into two phases

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Bloomfield Road project will now be done in two phases, allowing it to remain open longer, in response to concerns from residents.

The first phase will involve work between Siemers Drive and Ramsey Creek Bridge. During this phase, the stretch of Bloomfield Road will be closed with a local detour. The detour will lead from Shawnee Parkway and cut cross-country on a small gravel road to the Stonebridge subdivision.

Phase one of the construction will last from April 1 until sometime in May.

For phase two, construction crews will work on the section of Bloomfield Road between the bridge and Stonebridge Drive. This will take place during the summer with an estimated completion date of July 1. Motorists will be detoured to Benton Hill Road during this phase.

The project will widen the road and add sidewalks.

In response to complaints, the city engineer's office will also make provisions that will allow emergency vehicles to use the road during both phases of construction.

Planners also made concessions to fears about redirecting teenage drivers along Benton Hill Road, deemed by some to be narrow and unsafe. The city engineer's office chose to delay the Benton Hill Road detour until the summer, when fewer teenagers would be driving that route.

Complaints over the proposal came mainly from residents of the Stonebridge subdivision, which abuts Bloomfield Road. Residents will be forced to make a 5.3-mile detour driving north on Benton Hill Road to Route K in order to reach the nearby Wal-Mart during phase two.

After a Dec. 21 public meeting, Jay Stencel and other city staff sat down and evaluated the forms residents had filled out. "We tried to see where the majority of people were concerned," Stencel said. "We did whatever we could to accommodate them while still keeping costs under control."

To ensure an on-time completion of the project, the city is raising the liquidated damages cost -- the amount paid by a construction company for missing a completion deadline -- from $1,000 per day to $3,000 per day.

In order to avoid a traffic surge by commuters on Benton Hill Road, city officials plan to put up signs telling drivers heading north on Highway 74 to divert unless they are making local stops. This will cause the majority of commuting traffic to either take Highway 25 north to Route K or continue on Highway 74 to South Sprigg Street.

tgreaney@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245

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