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Four big infrastructure projects on drawing board

by Alex Naughton | June 8, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Eric Landwehr

The next five years will bring significant infrastructure developments in Jefferson City and Cole County.

Eric Landwehr, the director of Cole County Public Works, and David Bange, the city engineer for Jefferson City Public Works, on Tuesday gave a presentation on upcoming city/county cooperative projects to the Cole County Commission.

The first and biggest project Landwehr and Bange talked about was the Wildwood Drive project. Landwehr said the project has been in the works since 2007, but hadn't seen serious progress until the past nine months.

The project adds a new section to Wildwood Drive, extending the road past its current endpoint at West Edgewood Drive nearly a mile further south to Rock Ridge Road.

Landwehr said the new section will be two lanes with no curb or gutter. By going with a county road style rather than a more residential design, he said, the project will be roughly $1.5 million cheaper. A three-lane road would cost about $5 million, while the current design would only cost $3.5 million.

He said the money saved makes room for other city/county collaborative projects.

Where Wildwood and West Edgewood Drive meet, a new roundabout will be constructed in lieu of a four-way intersection. On the other side, where Wildwood Drive and Rock Ridge Road will intersect, a three-way intersection will be built, Landwehr said.

The second project is a Monroe Street reconstruction project transforming the section of Monroe Street between Highway 50 and East Dunklin Street.

Bange said the goal is to expand the block to three lanes with sidewalks and new retaining walls to keep falling rock from the bluffs off the road.

There used to be a wall along the bluffs, he said, but it was taken down years ago when it started to lean. Currently, concrete barriers line the bluffs, taking up space on one sidewalk and blocking the other.

With this project, the sidewalks will be restored while also keeping back falling rocks.

There would also be a new traffic signal installed at Monroe and Dunklin streets. Bange said the project will cost around $800,000 and is set to go to bid in December, with construction beginning in early 2024.

The next collaboration is on Militia Drive. Landwehr said this project has been in the works nearly as long as the Wildwood Drive extension.

"We never did any kind of design or really pursued that seriously. It's just been an idea since the mid-to-late 2000s," Landwehr said.

As the city and county have been developing collaborative projects, he said, they've finally started looking at doing something with the project.

Landwehr said the city/county collaboration is currently talking with four property owners who would be affected by an extension of Militia Drive to see what would work best for them.

Tentatively, however, the idea is that Militia Drive would extend from its current endpoint at Highway 50 and connect with Liberty Road, roughly half a mile south. Landwehr said this would add connectivity to the Highway 50 interchange and make the Algoa industrial area more accessible.

The final project Landwehr and Bange discussed is the rail spur extension and multimodal trans-load facility.

The last time the commission received an update on the facility, construction was set to begin soon and the county was searching for a funding source for the $1.1 million still needed for the project.

Since then, construction has officially started with some rock drilling and blasting in the area and that money has been found.

Landwehr said the money will come from the state, assuming Gov. Mike Parson signs off on the budget. In fact, he said, the $2 million the General Assembly earmarked for the project will actually go beyond what was needed, allowing the project to fully realize its potential.

As it was, the facilities capacity was going to be limited by the amount of train cars that could be brought into the siding.

Siding is a low-speed track section distinct from a running line or through route that may connect to through routes or other sidings at either end. It is often used for lighter rails and lower traffic.

With the extra money, that siding can be built out further, maximizing the number of cars that can be brought in.

The extra work is contingent on the governor signing off on the budget and it will require some redesign work, but, Landwehr said, "this is the greatest thing we could possibly do out here."

"Right now (the project) is awarded at $4.3 million. It was estimated in the fives. With this extra work, it's going to put us over five. We're getting a $5 million project for a county and city investment of $800,000," Landwehr said.

Landwehr clarified that the city/county collaborative agreement these projects fall under hasn't been signed yet, but it's set to go to the City Council on June 20 and to the commission after that.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:

Approved and signed agreements with Barr Engineering Co. and Bartlett & West to do evaluations for some stormwater runoff projects.

The plan is for the two companies to analyze watersheds in western Cole County before moving on to more detailed plans and construction in the future. The contract with Barr Engineering is $160,000, and the contract with Bartlett & West is $114,062.

Approved and signed a contract with Renew BioMedical for preventative maintenance on EMS medical equipment. EMS Chief Eric Hoy said the company will provide maintenance on EMS's ventilators and IV pumps.

The contract costs a little more than originally thought, Hoy said, but the money is in his budget to pay it. The contract is $11,230.

Approved an amendment to the Economic Development Administration award the county received for the multimodal facility. Landwehr said the amendment just updated some information and wouldn't change the amount of money the county received.

Approved an extension to the sheriff's media recruitment campaign with Zimmer Media. The media push will be extended for another month and will cost $5,700.

Western District Commissioner Harry Otto asked Sheriff John Wheeler how he felt about the campaign.

Wheeler said he'd had some applicants who had heard about sheriff's department jobs from social media, suggesting the campaign was having its intended effect.

Approved an emergency purchase for a sallyport door for the sheriff. He said a door had broken suddenly and was impeding his operations. The door cost $3,200 to replace.

The meeting ended when the commissioners went into a closed session to discuss real estate and existing or proposed security systems.

The full meeting is available at

Print Headline: Four big infrastructure projects on drawing board Projects include extension of Wildwood, Militia drives, Monroe Street reconstruction


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