The final piece of the puzzle for St. Martins to begin work on safety enhancements for pedestrians, bicyclists and people using motorized wheelchairs is now in place.
City officials said the community was awarded funding through a Missouri Department of Transportation Alternatives Program grant of $397,000.
City Administrator Doug Reece said the work will cover 1.1 miles through the heart of St. Martins. Engineering will begin this year, followed by the bidding process. The work should be completed before classes start at St. Martin Catholic School in August 2020.
Last year, the Cole County Commission signed a letter of support for St. Martins in the community's effort to get grant funding.
For the past decade, St. Martins has been trying to improve safety along West Business 50 near the school, Reece said.
"We'll be adding 8-foot asphalt shoulders designated as bike lanes in both directions along Business 50 from near routes T/D to just past Carel Road," Reece said. "School crossing lights in front of St. Martin School would be included in this project. These bike lanes would also allow residents traveling by foot to get out of the traffic lanes."
To pay for the sidewalk and other road improvements, Reece said, the city will pay $553,000 along with the $397,000 MoDOT grant and $250,000 from Cole County. That brings the total cost for the work to $1.2 million.
St. Martins would have enough right-of-way to add sidewalk, curb and gutter in the future if funds became available, Reece added.
The money from Cole County came after county commissioners signed an agreement with St. Martins, which was one of five communities in the county to receive cooperative funding. The money comes from the county's half-cent capital improvement sales tax to be used for "substantial improvements."
The Cole County Road and Bridge Advisory Committee members ranked the projects, and the commission awarded funds based on those rankings.
Under the agreement signed with the county, St. Martins would have two years to get its projects bid.
St. Martins received $250,000 for Business 50 pedestrian safety improvements and overlay work.
"The city took over Business 50 in the 1990s when the new four-lane highway came in," Reece said. "Other than filling in potholes, there have been no major improvements since then. It hasn't been overlayed. It's the original road from when the new (Business) 50 went in. The city is responsible for the upkeep from Rainbow Drive on west. Going east of Rainbow, it's Cole County's responsibility."
There will be major road improvements not only in St. Martins city limits over the next couple of years, but also just outside city limits.
Last month, county commissioners approved funding for engineering work to design the second phase of Business 50 West improvements heading into St. Martins.
The first phase of the project, completed in late 2014 for $4.3 million, rebuilt the road, added curbs and gutter, stormwater drainage and a sidewalk along the south side of the road from Country Club Drive west to past South Binder Lake and Babe Ruth drives.
The second phase will begin near Babe Ruth Drive where the first phase ended in 2014. The work will continue on to Route T in St. Martins. Part of the road will be three lanes, and part of it will be two lanes.
The three-lane section will go to just west of Cheyenne Drive then taper to two lanes all the way to Route T. Cheyenne is the end of the commercial area of Apache Flats. It will have a curb, gutter and sidewalk similar to what was put in for the first phase of improvements.
The engineering cost is $150,360. Construction will begin in 2020, and the county's pre-design construction estimate is $3.3 million. The project will be funded by the county's half-cent sales tax.