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story.lead_photo.caption The entrance to Tara Road is seen in September as it intersects with Tanner Bridge Road. County Commission recently approved work that will widen the intersection. Work is expected to be completed by May 2020. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

The first phase of safety improvements on Tanner Bridge Road is scheduled to be completed and open to traffic Wednesday.

That welcome news came during Tuesday's Cole County Commission meeting.

Don Schnieders Excavating was awarded a contract to make improvements near the Tara Road intersection, as well as realign the intersection.

Cole County Engineer Eric Landwehr said the contractor completed the work early, as the planned completion date for the project was May 30, 2020, but an incentive clause gave the contractor an additional $10,000 if the project was completed by Nov. 30.

The work, which began in October, is part of a multi-phase project to make safety improvements to Tanner Bridge Road from Route B to the Grande Highland subdivision.

The Cole County Commission approved a contract in 2017 with Central Missouri Professional Services to design safety improvements at five locations on Tanner Bridge Road.

The four other areas identified to make safety improvements include:

Just south of the Route B intersection.

A low-lying area near Vida Lane that floods due to backwater from the Moreau River.

The S curve near the Grande Highland subdivision.

An area just past the Grande Highland subdivision.

Fixing sharp curves, clearing trees and right-of-way for sight distance and road widening are all improvements that would be done with this project.

The road was built in the 1960s when county roads and bridges were under the jurisdiction of special road districts, public works officials said. Cole County was primarily rural at the time, and roads were narrow and curvy with little traffic.

Today, more than 2,000 vehicles travel Tanner Bridge Road each day, making it one of the highest traveled two-lane roads in Cole County.

This project was paid for with funds generated from the county's half-cent sales tax for capital improvements.

Work is expected to take place on the future phases in years to come as funding becomes available.

East High Street reconstruction

In other action Tuesday, commissioners approved moving ahead on much-awaited reconstruction work on East High Street. This is a project county commissioners have been urging public works officials to do, as the county and Jefferson City signed an agreement in November 2017 for the work.

Last week, the city bid the project with Aplex Inc., the lowest bidder at $1,933,074.

Because there was an increase in the amount of funding needed, the city requested additional funds from the county. The cooperative funding agreement between the city and county calls for each entity to pay $966,537.

Plans call for improvements on East High Street between Cherry Street and Vetter Lane. There will be curb, gutter and sidewalk repairs; street overlay; and retaining walls and stormwater inlets improvements. Sewer work on the project is expected to take place this winter, and the project is to be completely done by November 2020.

Courthouse landscaping

Also Tuesday, commissioners approved change orders in connection with the landscaping project taking place along the Monroe Street side of the county courthouse. For a total of $17,390, the new work will add some electrical conduit to run new wires, as well as new piping.

In October, commissioners authorized the landscaping project, which will include reworking the sidewalks as well as moving benches and trees to open the sidewalks for pedestrians. Irrigation, electrical and stormwater work also will be done, along with improvements to the courthouse foundation.

The work will also be done along the High Street side of the building.

GBH Builders of Jefferson City was awarded a contract of $321,920. The money to pay for the work is coming out of the county's capital projects fund.

The commission wants the work done in time for the county's 200th anniversary celebration next year.

Militia Drive rail spur

Commissioners approved a change order Tuesday that reduced the final cost to replace a railroad crossing on Militia Drive.

The work was related to building a rail spur at Morris Packaging in the Algoa area.

Cole County and Jefferson City are paying for the work, along with Morris Packaging. The spur will run from Command Web across Militia Drive and continue along the south side of Morris Packaging and Alpla.

The cost to replace the crossing was added to the contract at the request of the city. The county will pay the contractor, Railworks Track Services, for the additional $141,000, and the city will reimburse the county.

Commissioners approved an earlier change order of $56,744 to pay to replace rotting ties under the crossing.

Due to some underruns in the amount of rock fill and excavation needed to complete the project, totaling $4,523, the final total cost for the project came in at $566,431.

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