Cape County Commission asks MoDOT to suspend uptown Jackson road project

Friday, September 21, 2012
The Cape Girardeau County courthouse is seen in this file photo. An uptown Jackson road project has been put on hold while a county-commissioned study of the courthouse and other facilities is completed. (Fred Lynch)

A Jackson street-improvement project that has been discussed for more than 20 years may have to wait a little longer before it leaves the planning stages.

The Cape Girardeau County Commission during its Thursday meeting voted to request that the Missouri Department of Transportation postpone the Highway 61 Improvement Project for what may be up to a year.

The vote reflected concern among the commissioners that the continuance of the project would pose conflicts at a time when they are receiving proposals from consulting firms to perform a study of county properties in uptown Jackson.

"The results of the study could have an impact on the county property that will be involved in the project," Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy said. "Until the county commission reviews all results from the study, which should take approximately one year, we are respectfully going to request that MoDOT postpone the project for that length of time."

The U.S. 61 project, a venture between the city of Jackson and MoDOT, is expected to improve U.S. 61 where it runs through Jackson's uptown. The city and the department are each picking up half of the estimated $1.5 million cost of the project, which aims to remedy traffic issues and parking. The county commission separately has been studying what to do with its Jackson and Cape Girardeau office and court space, including the Cape Girardeau County Courthouse and Administrative Building, both in uptown Jackson.

An easement from the county may be required if the project requires the usage of county land in uptown.

"If the plan possibly calls for the widening of streets and that happens to encroach upon county property, an easement from the county will have to be granted," Tracy said. He also believes that if no steps are taken to postpone the U.S. 61 project, the two plans will meet head-on and harm the outcome of both.

"I've spoken to the mayor of Jackson and the city administrator," he said. "We feel that we ought to have a concerted effort where the project is concerned. It doesn't make sense to have conflicting plans."

Tracy added that Jackson Mayor Barbara Lohr, in consultation with the board of aldermen, has agreed to postpone the U.S. 61 project for the time it takes the county commission to complete its study. She has also raised her concerns for conflicting plans in a letter to MoDOT.

"The commission will do the same in its letter," he said.

Eric Krapf, MoDOT project manager in Sikeston, is overseeing the U.S. 61 project and doesn't expect any issues regarding postponement.

"It's not a big deal," he said during a telephone interview. "I'd like for everybody to be on the same page. We'll have to go to the highway commission and ask them to amend the project, but I'm confident the commission will vote for the delay."

klewis@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

1 Barton Square, Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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