Cost of Frog Hollow project climbs

The potential that a new Jefferson City High School could be built in the future near the new St. Mary’s Health Center has increased the costs of a road project in the area.

County commissioners were told Thursday the new estimated cost for the work — to widen Frog Hollow Road and add access from Creek Trail Drive and Frog Hollow to Mission Drive — is nearly $3.5 million, up from $2.3 million. The project is a cooperative venture between Jefferson City and Cole County governments.

In December 2012, it was announced that the Frog Hollow project would change the alignment of the road near Tanglewood Drive to soften what is now a sharp curve.

The project begins at Edgewood Drive, where Frog Hollow Road will be widened, and curbs, gutters and sidewalks will be added.

The main part of the project is to replace two old, narrow bridges on Frog Hollow Road over Wears Creek.

The streets project also will extend Creek Trail Drive to meet up with Frog Hollow Road and create a new intersection.

Ultimately, Frog Hollow Road will connect to the roundabout on Mission Drive, just north of the new St. Mary’s Health Center already being built and scheduled to open in 2015.

Construction on the project is scheduled to start in 2014.

Originally, the project was set to be carried out in two phases, and two roads were set to go through the property purchased by the Jefferson City School District in early October 2012.

Once the school district announced its purchase, the city began to change its design for Frog Hollow Road, as it was no longer thought necessary to have two roads going through the property.

City officials said last year that, with only one property owner, only one road needed to be built, and the scope of the project wouldn’t be affected by voters’ approval or rejection of the school district’s bond issue proposal.

While voters rejected the school district issue in April, county officials said the thinking is that a school will be built there one day because the district owns the property.

District officials said they have donated the right of way for the road project, but are not funding any of the road work.

One of the big reasons for the cost increase on the road project is a large rock cut that will have to be done at Creek Trail Drive.

The planned sidewalk also will be wider — 10 feet instead of five.

The design cost now is expected to be more than $267,000, and utility relocation and right of way costs are estimated at $150,000.

Bids are expected to go out in December.

Officials hope that the final bids will come in under the estimates, which would help with costs.

Savings from other projects could be applied to the cost for this project.

As of this month, the combined total of funding for city/county cooperative projects stands at $11 million.

Another project on that list is work on the Stadium Boulevard and Jefferson Street intersection with the U.S. 54 interchange. The project includes work at the Christy Drive and Monroe Street intersections, in support of expansion at Capital Region Medical Center.

The total cost of the project had been estimated at $2.4 million, but now is coming in at just more than $2.1 million, thanks to grant funds.

In other business Thursday, commissioners approved an agreement allowing county ambulances to stay at two Cole County Fire Protection District stations.

The ambulances have been there for several years, but Director Mike Shirts said that, since the county took over the service from Capital Region, no formal agreement had allowed them to continue being at the stations.

Under the new agreement, one crew will man an ambulance at the 4017 County Park Road station from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., seven days a week.

Another crew will man an ambulance at a station at 9714 Pleasant Hill Road, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Both locations have worked well in regards to response times, Shirts said.

The agreement calls for the county to pay the district for utility use at the two stations.

Shirts called that a fair trade, since they don’t have to pay lease or rent costs for a facility.

The agreement takes effect Jan. 1, 2014.

Commissioners also approved a new charge to the ambulance master charge list — a half-hour wait-time charge of $62.50.

Shirts said the new charge especially is needed to deal with costs when the ambulance service transports inmates from correctional facilities for medical treatment.

Many times, they have to wait up to two hours before they can bring them back to the correctional facility, he said.

With this new charge, Shirts also said there was no need for a rate increase based on current call volumes.


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