Project to ease traffic congestion on Mount Auburn Road

Friday, August 6, 2004

A $65,000 project aimed at easing traffic congestion on Mount Auburn Road should begin in the next three weeks and be completed this fall, Cape Girardeau city engineer Mark Lester said Thursday.

The Missouri Department of Transportation designed the road improvements at the busy Mount Auburn Road-Kingshighway intersection. The city will pay the $65,112 cost of the work with motor fuel tax money.

Lester said construction could take two months with Lappe Cement Finishing Inc. of Perryville coming in as the low bidder on the project. The city council awarded the contract at its meeting Monday night.

The project involves the addition of a straight-through northbound lane and free-flowing right-turn lane on Mount Auburn Road next to Cape LaCroix Creek. When completed, northbound traffic on Mount Auburn will be able to take advantage of two through northbound lanes and a right-turn lane onto Kingshighway. Motorists also will continue to be able to turn left onto Kingshighway.

"Hopefully that will eliminate some of the traffic congestion," said Melanie Gertis, assistant city engineer.

More than 6,200 vehicles on Mount Auburn Road and Lexington Avenue travel through the Kingshighway intersection daily, according to a 2003 traffic count. The street is Mount Auburn Road south of Kingshighway and Lexington Avenue north of the intersection.

Traffic currently backs up because there is only a short right-turn lane, Gertis said. "It doesn't allow for the stacking that is needed."

Lester said the improvements particularly should help motorists wanting to turn right onto Kingshighway.

Mitch Robinson, executive director of the Cape Girardeau Industrial Recruitment Association, said he tries to avoid the intersection when possible.

"You are seeing traffic back up at different times during the day," he said. "The noon hour especially is very busy."

There's so much traffic congestion at times that motorists have to wait through more than one traffic-signal cycle. "It really backs up," he said.

Cape LaCroix Creek runs close to the east side of Mount Auburn Road where the road improvements will take place. But Lester said it won't be a tight fit. "There is room there," he said.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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