Panel endorses $500,000 for Lafayette enhancements

Resolution to go to full City Council

The Public Works and Planning Committee has endorsed spending $500,000 on enhancements to the new Lafayette Street interchange, and the full Jefferson City Council is expected to take up the issue June 2.

At the committee meeting Thursday, a resolution supporting the $500,000 expenditure was moved forward unanimously.

The Cole County Commission already has approved entering into a contract with MoDOT to build the new Lafayette Street interchange with the U.S. 50-63 Expressway, where MoDOT will let the contracts for the interchange and supervise the work.

The project is projected to cost roughly $18 million, and additional enhancements are projected to be roughly $1.5 million to design and construct.

The county has approved a $1 million contribution for enhancements with the expectation that the city will approve $500,000.

The actual interchange itself will be funded through MoDOT.

“I think this is a unique opportunity,” said Presiding Commission Marc Ellinger to committee members Thursday.

Ellinger said the county would work on a cooperative agreement with city staff for how the funds will be made available. Interim Finance Director Bill Betts said the city could take the $500,000 from the capital improvements sales tax funds dedicated to improvements at the old Missouri State Penitentiary, which the council had approved setting aside $1 million for.

Responding to a question from a councilman, Betts and Public Works Director Matt Morasch told committee members the allocation would not affect funds set aside for standard overlay projects and road work throughout the city, and Ellinger assured committee members the city would not be asked for more money for the enhancements at a later date.

“There will be no more ask on this project,” Ellinger said. “This is it.”

Representatives of MoDOT also were present Thursday to give a general overview of the interchange project. The project calls for a new interchange at U.S. 50 and Lafayette Street, and adding a lane in each direction from Monroe Street to Lafayette Street and from Lafayette to Clark Avenue.

There also will be enhancements done on the Jackson Street, Chestnut Street and Lafayette Street bridges. These include pylons, lights, railings and a retaining wall at the rock cut with Jackson Street.

The timeline calls for the project to go out to bid in July, the contract awarded in September and construction starting at either the end of this year or the start of next year.

Mike Dusenberg, project manager with MoDOT, said the construction should be done throughout a two-year period and, while specific time frames have not been estimated yet, it will be done in about six phases that intermittently close Chestnut Street, Jackson Street, Lafayette Street and Clark Avenue, as well as permanently close Elm Street.

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