Bloomfield Road widening to begin Oct. 31, take nearly a year

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Motorists move along a tree covered section of Bloomfield Road in July.

Widening of a section of Bloomfield Road is set to begin Oct. 31 and last nearly a year, Cape Girardeau city officials said Wednesday.

The project also includes installation of storm sewers and two small prefabricated bridges and construction of an 8-foot-wide walking trail.

Construction will occur even as the project is embroiled in a court battle.

Owners of two tracts of land along Bloomfield Road, once part of a historic estate, have gone to court to seek higher compensation for the acreage the city is taking for the project.

A judge ruled in May the city could take the land needed for the project. The issue pending is how much will be paid to Patrick Evans and his sister, Mary Evans Auer.

Evans owns the old Elmwood Estate, which includes the historic house of one of Cape Girardeau's pioneer families and later the home of famed civic leader Louis Houck. Auer lives on an adjacent tract of the family land.

Local historian Frank Nickell testified in court in July "this is one of the most historic sites in the entire region of Southeast Missouri."

But city officials long have argued for improving the heavily traveled road.

Lane closures will occur during construction along the route, which extends more than a mile from Benton Hill Road to White Oaks Lane, officials said.

The contractor, Lappe Cement Finishing of Friedheim, is required to keep one lane of traffic open, except for two short-term closures to install bridges, city engineer Casey Brunke said.

Lappe Cement will be allowed to close the entire route to traffic for as much as 10 days for installation of each bridge, she said.

The public will be notified when the bridge work is scheduled, she said.

Brunke said motorists will be able to travel through the construction zone most of the time, but she added the surface during that time will be gravel.

Motorists, she said, can expect delays.

"You will have to wait for cars to go through," she said.

Speed will be reduced through the area too.

"You cannot go 50 mph in a construction zone," Brunke said.

She advised motorists would be better served to take alternate routes.

The contractor has 330 days to complete the project, weather permitting.

The $2.69 million project is funded with Transportation Trust Fund sales tax money approved by voters and $150,000 from the Cape Special Road District. The City Council awarded the construction contract in August.

City officials said the project would result in a safer roadway for motorists and pedestrians.

Since 1999, the city has been working to improve the safety and accessibility of Bloomfield Road one phase at a time, officials said.

Cape Special Road District maintains this section of Bloomfield Road. Once the project is completed, the city will take over the street maintenance.

City officials have not received the contractor's final construction timetable. Initial work on this phase will begin with relocating utilities and removing trees that border the existing road, Brunke said.

Officials said the public is encouraged to refer any questions about the project to the city's project manager, David Whitaker, at (573) 339-6327.

(573) 388-3641

Pertinent address:

Bloomfield Road, from Benton Hill Road to White Oaks Lane, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

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