A Missouri Department of Transportation official told the Jackson Board of Aldermen Monday night that MoDOT would shoulder the costs of moving the city's water and electric lines on Colorado Street again for the Highway 34/72 project.
While the overall project will go on, the mistake will take months to fix, Jackson officials said.
The problem stems from a miscalculation regarding roughly 500 feet of retaining walls along Colorado. Barry Horst with MoDOT said a 10-foot strip of extra land had to be acquired from the school district as a result of miscalculations regarding the length of underground retaining wall reinforcements.
"We made our assumptions based on the manufacturer's recommendation," Horst said. "You guys put the lines where they were supposed to go. We made the mistake."
Jackson will pay for the utility relocation up front and will be reimbursed by MoDOT later. Assistant city administrator Larry Koenig said the city had enough money in the coffers to cover the relocation.
City officials said they would prefer to move their own utilities, but director of electric utilities Don Schuette said moving the electric lines will take a lot of design work, especially considering the engineers will have to go around a garage.
Plus, he added, contractors are hard to find at the moment because so many have swarmed Florida in the wake of the repeated hurricanes there.
"It's not going to be easy," he said. "But we'll make it happen."
Horst, however, was able to deliver some good news.
A possible stoplight project may cost considerably less than what was reported by city public works director Rodney Bollinger at a past study session.
He advised Jackson to submit a letter to MoDOT to get the ball rolling for a stoplight at the newly improved corner of Route D and Farmington.
He said a stoplight would cost somewhere in the $100,000 to $150,000 range, hundreds of thousands cheaper than what Bollinger had been told by another MoDOT employee who apparently didn't realize that the recent intersection improvement laid the groundwork for stoplights.
Plus, Horst added, the city might be able to do some 50-50 financing and use accelerator financing programs to speed up the project, if it's worthwhile.
Before any of that gets decided, MoDOT would have to do a traffic count. A study done 18 months ago indicated traffic counts were not high enough to warrant a light, but Horst acknowledged that several homes have been built in the vicinity in the last year and a half.