Commission awards contract for Route W work

Thursday, October 8, 2009

By Rudi Keller

Southeast Missourian

Improvements to Route W, one of the last area projects designated for funding with federal stimulus money, will likely begin in November and be completed by winter 2010.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission awarded a $2.35 million contract Wednesday to Apex Paving Co. of Cape Girardeau to add shoulders, enhance drainage and resurface four miles of road from LaSalle Avenue to Lexington Avenue. The work will address major safety concerns along the route, said Andy Meyer, project manager for the MoDOT District 10 office.

"The city has been telling us that this is a priority," Meyer said. "You have people who frequently drop a tire" off the edge of the pavement.

Depending on weather, the contract allows for completion of the project by December 2010. During the work, the road will be closed for up to four weeks while Apex replaces a box culvert three-tenths of a mile south of County Road 618 and extends the box culvert near the County Road 620 intersection on Cape La Croix creek. The contract allows up to two weeks for each culvert.

With the recent completion of LaSalle Avenue, Route W now has a direct connection to Jackson, and that is expected to increase traffic. The work being done under the contract is to make the road safer for that anticipated increase, not to accommodate any major additions to current traffic, said Mark Shelton, district engineer.

"We are still going to have a two-lane roadway, and certainly that is not going to increase the capacity," he said.

The shoulders should make the road safer, Shelton said.

Within a few years after the project is completed, MoDOT and the city hope to jointly fund a reconstruction of the intersection at Route W and Lexington Avenue. The project is on the city's draft list for inclusion in a sales tax election next year and the current plan is to put a two-lane roundabout that would smoothly move traffic on Lexington Avenue, Kings­way Drive and Route W.

The proximity to the intersection of Lexington Avenue and Kingshighway makes a signal at intersection impractical, Meyer said.

"If you are ever on Kings­way on the east side and trying to turn out it is very difficult," Meyer said. "Instead of stopping traffic on that major movement, this basically allows everybody to enter that circle and yield to each other and nobody ever stops."

The city is continuing to study proposals for the tax election and no firm plan has been made, said city engineer Kelly Green. "We need to see if that is truly the right option. There may be a different idea."

rkeller@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

Route W, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

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