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Cooperative meeting to discuss Cole County projects

Cooperative meeting to discuss Cole County projects

January 17th, 2018 by Jeff Haldiman in Local News

Flags flutter in strong winds Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, at the Cole County Courthouse in Jefferson City.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

A meeting with representatives of the seven small communities in Cole County will take place in the next few weeks to discuss cooperative project funding guidelines and applications.

The application forms were presented during Tuesday's Cole County Commission meeting.

Currently, there is $800,000 in the county's half-cent capital improvement sales tax to be used for "substantial improvements" in the towns of Centertown, Lohman, Russellville, St. Martins, St. Thomas, Taos and Wardsville.

Western District Commissioner Kris Scheperle has been working with public works officials on an application form so communities can submit an application for funding a project.

A committee of members of the Cole County Road and Bridge Advisory Committee will rank the projects, and the County Commission will award funds based on those rankings. This money could be used for any road- and bridge-related project, including stormwater improvements or sidewalk and intersection improvements. The maximum funding per project is $250,000.

The commission intends to award the entire $800,000 in this round of applications, which must be turned in by June 30. A decision will be made on who receives funds by July 31. If money remains in this fund, then a second round of applications will take place in 2019.

County officials said communities should have a realistic time for completion of the project, plan for cost increases and inflation, and have a plan for long-term maintenance.

Each small community in the county still gets $100,000 in sales tax funds, generally used for overlaying of streets.

Also during Tuesday's commission meeting, Jefferson City Engineer David Bange reported on the status of joint city/county projects using half-cent sales tax funds.

Bange said design work has taken longer than expected for improvements to East High Street. The county will pay $850,000 of the $1.7 million cost. This would rebuild the street and include new curbs, pavement, stormwater and sidewalk improvements, particularly around East Elementary School.

Bange said they probably will replace all retaining walls on the southern side of the street, and the location of the crosswalk at the school will be moved closer to the top of the hill to improve sight distance problems. Bange added they plan to have the project ready to go out to bid by late summer, with construction going through the fall and winter.

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Another project is a road for the new Jefferson City High School near St. Mary's Hospital. Bange said school officials' goal is to begin building the foundations for the school in April.

The county will also be asked to contribute to the replacement of the Dunklin Street Bridge over Wears Creek by McKnight Tire.

Bange said a recent inspection by the Missouri Department of Transportation determined the bridge had deteriorated "drastically" since its last inspection two years ago. The immediate fix could be narrowing the lanes on the bridge, but the bridge will have to be replaced. Bange added the city can absorb design costs for this project, so they are starting the process of selecting an engineer to design the bridge. For now, they are not planning for construction to take place until 2021.

Another project the county could help with is improvements to Clark Avenue, particularly around the interchange at Miller Street and Elm Street, stretching from McCarty Street to Hillcrest Street. Traffic counts in this area soon will be taken to give public works officials information on what type of improvements should be done. Bange said the city has $1.2 million designated for Clark Avenue improvements, but that's not enough for all the work they anticipate will need to be done. They would still need to get MoDOT funding for the work.