Meeting on interchange proposal in Scott City coming up

Monday, July 30, 2012
The Ramsey Creek bridge project in Scott City was idle Friday, July 27, 2012 due to wet conditions. (Fred Lynch)

Construction resumed last week on the Ramsey Creek Corridor, as highway officials prepared to hold a briefing on a proposed interchange south of Scott City.

The open-house community briefing will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 7 at the city hall, 215 Chester Ave., to discuss construction of an interchange south of Scott City, part of the Missouri Department of Transportion's three-phase effort to ease congestion in the city.

The first phase, adding more turn lanes to U.S. 61 and Route K in Scott City in 2009, has eased congestion within the city, said MoDOT area engineer Dave Wyman.

The second phase, building the north-south connector between routes K and AB, slowed to a stop this spring to allow for settling to stop at the site of the bridge at the Ramsey Creek Corridor. Workers resumed construction there last week, after MoDOT monitors determined settling had stopped on the south side of the project.

"On the south side of Ramsey Creek, that settlement stopped about a week ago," said MoDOT project manager Eric Krapf. "The bridge contractor has moved back in. They've started working again there. The fill is still moving on the north side of Ramsey Creek."

MoDOT goes to the site every week to take readings on how much the fill has settled and how much moisture is in the ground. In some places, the land has settled more than a foot, Krapf said. The site looks like it has mailboxes scattered on it, but those boxes are filled with devices that measure pressure under the soil. The boxes are attached to settlement plates under the fill. When the plates move, the boxes move.

Meanwhile, officials want to prepare for the third phase of the project, building an Interstate 55 interchange on the south side of Scott City, even though there's no money for it at this time.

"All this stuff is really preliminary. We're stressing that we don't have any money to build this," Krapf said. "We want to go through the steps to provide the preliminary environmental work. We're trying to position ourselves to be prepared if money does come available."

The project is in the "scoping" phase, with MoDOT working to gain environmental clearances. MoDOT is examining three options for constructing the interchange, including constructing it near the Route PP crossing.

Route PP crosses I-55 about 2 miles south of the Scott City interchange.

The other two options would involve an interchange between Route PP and the southern end of the city, Krapf said.

"Next week, I'm going to try to visit with some of the property owners," Wyman said. "We've got some reasons why we picked those sites. We want to see what kinds of impact we would run into."

Conducting environmental studies at this time is good planning on MoDOT's part, said Scott County Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger.

"MoDOT has to look at economics on building the thing," Burger said. "The farther south it is, the better it is for Kelso. No matter where it is built, it would be it would be a vast improvement."

Burger, a member of the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission, said construction of the southern Scott City Interchange has been at the top of the commission's list of needs for at least 10 years.

"Safety is a big part of this," Burger said. "What we have right now is not real good because it cannot handle the amount of traffic that we get."

MoDOT will share the three proposed alternatives with the public at the meeting. For more information, contact Krapf at 573-472-5261, transportation project designer David Blalock at 573-472-5295 or MoDOT's Customer Service Center at 888-275-6636.

jgamm@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

215 Chester Ave., Scott City, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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