The Independence Drive and Washington Avenue intersection is expected be closed within two weeks as crews prepare to build a new roundabout.
City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said work already is under way on the Independence Drive construction project. A turn lane is being installed at the entrance to Union High School.
Once that is completed, paving of Independence Drive from Highway 50 to Washington Avenue will begin.
Zimmermann added that work at the roundabout will begin while paving is under way.
In February, aldermen approved the $981,187 bid by Jokerst Paving and Contracting, Festus, for the street work. The estimated cost was more than $1,073,000.
The scope of work includes resurfacing, and installation of new curb and gutter from Highway 50 to Highway 47.
The intersection at Independence Drive and Washington Avenue is slated to be closed for 60 days during the construction of the city’s second roundabout.
Zimmermann said the contractor has said the work will not take 60 days to complete.
“I hope they can get this done before school starts,” said Mayor Mike Livengood.
The traffic light at the intersection has alternated between both a flashing four-way lighted intersection and a timed light intersection several times during the past four years.
The light was changed to a four-way stop during only evening and night hours in April 2008, and then later to a four-way stop 24 hours a day.
Some residents have complained that the four-way stop is unsafe and confusing.
City officials have said roundabouts are safer and less costly to maintain than a lighted intersection.
At roundabouts, vehicles travel counterclockwise around a raised center island, with entering traffic yielding the right of way to circulating traffic. Once there is a gap in traffic, drivers enter the circle and proceed to their exit. If there is no traffic in the roundabout they enter without yielding.
Roundabout intersections are “pedestrian friendly” and cheaper than a signalized intersection, officials have said.
There are two proposed alternatives to the project, which are included in the $981,187 bid.
The northbound turn lane on Wildcat Drive into Union High School. The lane is located near the driveway of the Union R-XI administrative offices.
There also will be portions of the roadway that will have a paving fabric laid.
The fabric is applied under asphalt to minimize the amount of surface water that gets under the pavement and prevents cracks in the road from surfacing.
Zimmermann presented the board with a traffic study that shows where traffic will be detoured during the construction project
Traffic traveling south on Highway A will be detoured onto Highway BB to Highway 50.
Traffic from Highway 47 will be detoured to Grandview Drive.
Alderman Dustin Bailey asked if there will be signs along the entire detour route.
“I know a frustrating part of Main Street (roundabout construction) was detours signs, but (drivers) were never actually detoured around,” he said.
Zimmermann noted that there will be signs along the detour routes.