Jackson wants to tie Old Orchard Road plan to interchange

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The city of Jackson hopes to secure Missouri Department of Transportation funds to improve and extend an outer road along Interstate 55.

Old Orchard Road will stretch along the west side of I-55 from the future East Main Street interchange to Center Junction.

A portion of the road has already been constructed but two additional phases will provide a direct connection between the two interchanges. The project will provide drivers a much wider Old Orchard Road and a new bridge over Williams Creek.

The city has applied for a cost-share agreement with MoDOT for approximately $2.3 million for the first phase of the road project. Costs will be split equally between the city and MoDOT, said Jackson public works director Rodney Bollinger. The second phase of the project will be constructed by a private developer that has yet to be named.

If the city is approved for the MoDOT funding, it would pay its share of the project with additional money leftover from the interchange project. About $10.5 million was earmarked for the East Main Street interchange -- estimated to cost about $8 million. Both Cape Girardeau and Jackson have been promised the remaining funds to help construct outer roads along Interstate 55.

Bollinger expects MoDOT will award the application by August, and estimates the Old Orchard Road project will be complete by May 2009.

"These things don't happen overnight. We're trying to get all the finances secured and get this project on the radar," Bollinger said.

Old Orchard Road will serve as a much-needed alternative route between Cape Girardeau and Jackson, Bollinger said.

The city of Cape Girardeau plans to construct an outer road, Technology Drive, along the east side of I-55. But city engineer Jay Stencel said the city hasn't secured funding for the road and has no set date to begin construction.

jfreeze@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 246

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