Cape city council OK's plan for Bloomfield Road

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A wider Bloomfield Road will come within 4 1/2 feet of a 64-year-old stone wall bordering a residence that was formerly a rural school building.

The Cape Girardeau City Council approved the design plan for the estimated $1.79 million project on a 5-1 vote despite opposition from Jane Cox, owner of the former Campster schoolhouse in the 3800 block of Bloomfield Road. She said she feared speeding motorists would crash into the wall and damage it.

Councilwoman Marcia Ritter voted against the street design, arguing that the original plan would have kept the roadway farther from the stone wall. But the rest of the council sided with city staff who recommended the route. Chris Koehler of Koehler Engineering in Cape Girardeau, which drew up the plan, told the council the recommended route would provide room on the south side of Bloomfield Road for drainage improvements.

Running drainage pipe under the road would be more expensive, he told the council.

He said the city also could face a possible right of way court battle if it sought to locate the road farther south, encroaching on the Stonebridge subdivision.

Koehler said the designed route, which includes a slight curve, won't be a safety problem.

But Cox said previous design plans were better because they addressed the safety issue while protecting the wall.

Cox said the city doesn't need to come so close to her wall when the current 24-foot-wide asphalt street sits on a 60-foot right of way.

"It is a raceway," she said of the existing Bloomfield Road. "I am still concerned about the safety."

But Councilman Jay Purcell said speeding vehicles are more of an enforcement issue than an engineering situation.

Police chief Steve Strong said the current road is too narrow to easily pull over speeding motorists. The proposed improvements will make it easier to ticket motorists, he said.

The city plans to build a 36-foot-wide concrete street with curb and gutters from Siemers Drive to Stonebridge Drive. In addition, there will be a 6-foot-wide sidewalk built on the south side of Bloomfield Road.

Earl Norman, who owns property on Bloomfield Road, urged the council to accept the revised road plan. He said it would allow room for future construction of a hiking and biking trail bordering the south side of Bloomfield Road west of Interstate 55.

Norman said some of the right of way included in the development of Stonebridge subdivision was set aside for future construction of the trail. The original design would have infringed on that promise, he told the council.

But city officials said after the meeting that the Bloomfield Road project currently envisioned building a concrete sidewalk. City manager Doug Leslie said it could be expanded in the future to serve as a recreational trail if the city obtains grant money to fund it.

Construction on the improvements could begin next spring.

It could be completed within a year.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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