Cape to improve several blocks of Independence

Friday, December 26, 2003

The Cape Girardeau engineering department has good tidings that may eventually bring great joy to motorists who regularly travel on Independence.

But during the possible four months of construction, there may be some Scrooges behind the wheel.

On Christmas Eve, the city of Cape Girardeau began advertising for bids on a reconstruction project that will improve Independence from Pacific to Sprigg.

Construction will likely begin in early March, and the project will include stormwater and traffic signal upgrades, and new curbs, gutters, water mains and sidewalks.

And it's just the beginning of Cape Girardeau's long-range plan to improve Independence from Water Street to Kingshighway, something that the city has had on its to-do list since 1991, city planner Kent Bratton said.

The first phase, from Pacific to Sprigg, is the last project on a long list of improvements made possible by the Transportation Trust Fund, a half-cent sales tax which was approved by voters in 1995.

Voters extended the tax and created TTF II in 2000. The second phase of Independence improvements (from Sprigg to Kingshighway) and the third phase (from Sprigg to Water) will be TTF II projects. The second phase is scheduled for the next fiscal year, and the third phase is scheduled for 2005-2006.

The city, in its capital improvement projects list, has roughly estimated the first phase to cost $440,000.

Civil engineer Abdul Alkadry said the section will be widened by two feet. One of the main purposes of the construction, he said, is to flatten out a dip that collects water.

'Like a bowl'That's good news to Dan Rau, a managing partner of the Patrick Davis law firm at the corner of Independence and Pacific.

"We have noticed the road is in disrepair," Rau said. "This area of the street is like a bowl and it collects a lot of water."

Quentin Gaither, a captain with the Cape Girardeau Fire Department, said there will be some inconvenience for the firefighters who work at the station at the corner of Sprigg and Independence.

There is an entrance to the fire station and employee parking off of Independence, but there is also an entrance off of Sprigg, which the department will be able to use.

"At most, it will be an aggravation moving our apparatus because we won't be able to use the loop," Gaither said. "We won't be able to leisurely pull in, we'll have to carefully position the trucks."

Alkadry, the civil engineer, said the construction will be done one block at a time.

Staff writer Callie Clark contributed to this report.

bmiller@semissourian.com

243-6635

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