Sprigg Street-Broadway intersection to open no later than Monday

Friday, August 10, 2012
Workers overlay asphalt on Broadway at the Sprigg Street intersection Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012 in Cape Girardeau. (Fred Lynch)

One of Broadway's busiest intersections will open just in time for a seasonal surge of traffic downtown.

Cape Girardeau city manager Scott Meyer said earlier this week that a goal is set for the intersection of Broadway and Sprigg Street to be open before the start of Southeast Missouri State University's fall semester. The intersection, a throughway for 15,000 to 20,000 vehicles each day, according to numbers provided by the city, has been closed since July 17 while Fronabarger Concreters moves west one intersection every three weeks during the construction of the corridor improvement project. It is the biggest intersection in the area of Broadway being improved, which runs from Water Street to Pacific Street.

Southeast's first day of classes is Aug. 20, but extra traffic from parents helping students settle into residence halls starts earlier -- the official move-in day for first-time students is Thursday, and more students returning to campus through the rest of the weekend means more traffic near the university.

City engineer Casey Brunke said she is confident the intersection will soon be open, possibly as soon as tonight and no later than Monday, which is the deadline crews have to finish.

Crews completed asphalt overlay of the intersection Thursday, and Brunke said she anticipates striping work will be completed today. The project will move next to the Ellis Street intersection. Work there will likely begin by the end of Tuesday. Brunke said Fronabarger has stayed on track on the project since April when work began at the intersection of Water Street and Broadway.

"So far they have opened every intersection before the deadline and we're still ahead of schedule. I don't anticipate Ellis going any differently," Brunke said.

The Pacific Street intersection will close after work is completed at the Ellis Street intersection. The deadline is Nov. 5 for substantial completion of the project, which means the contractor has to have all paving, sidewalk, curb, gutter, storm-sewer and lighting work done by that date.

Brunke said the largest piece of those projects the contractor has not yet completed is the lighting but that she believes installation will be finished on time. The city so far has spent a little under the $4.5 million budget, Brunke said, although she did not have exact figures available Thursday. The $4.5 million cost also includes beautification and streetscape enhancements that will be installed between November and April.

Southeast's director of residence life, Bruce Skinner, said students and parents coming to campus were encouraged during spring orientations to use alternate routes to come to campus since the university would not be sure of the progress on Broadway at the start of fall classes.

"Fortunately, it's moved along really well," he said.

Skinner also said during the past few years that fewer people coming from the north are using Broadway to get to campus, instead using Bertling Street to get to the university, so that should also help many avoid detours.

More than 3,000 student housing contracts have so far been turned in to the university's office of residence life for the upcoming semester.

Brunke said the city spoke with the university earlier in the summer with the purpose of notifying the university about possible detours that could affect related traffic.

Parking along Broadway is another issue city staff is working to resolve as the project progresses. Mayor Harry Rediger said this week that staff will evaluate handicapped parking along Broadway. Brunke said the city has proposed placing one handicapped-accessible parking space per block along the street and staff are reviewing those spaces to make sure they are in the best locations.

Brunke also said the city is nearing an agreement for sharing existing parking lots with some Broadway property owners in an effort to increase regular parking spaces along the route, since parking is allowed only on the south side of the street for the length of the project and reduces the number of spaces.

Brunke declined, however, to give out further information until an agreement is signed.

"This is the closest we've been, and I am pretty confident we will get an agreement signed within the next couple weeks or so," she said.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

401 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Broadway Street and Sprigg Street, Cape Girardeau, MO

One University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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