Pacific aldermen discussed an engineer’s drawing of a planned roundabout that would connect Thornton, Hogan and Viaduct streets with the westbound entrance and exit ramps on the north side of Interstate 44.
Speaking at the Feb. 19 board meeting, City Administrator Harold Selby said the city plans to apply for Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) funds, through East-West Gateway, to construct the new interchange. Work would probably not be done until 2016.
The interchange was part of the I-44 improvements presented to the public in 2001 before Pilot Truck Stop was developed. At that time, total cost was estimated at $28 million.
The cost to complete the roundabout, which will be the final phase of the I-44 improvement project, is estimated at $1.8 million. The city of Pacific’s share of the cost is $295,000.
Alderman Mike Bates said he thought the roundabout had been abandoned after the truck stop was built, which required east-bound truck traffic to use Viaduct Street to reach Pilot on the north side of Thornton Road.
“We had a meeting about this before the last board meeting,” Bates said. “MoDOT has been a great partner and we appreciate what they’ve done for us, but I can’t approve this at all. We can’t get tractor-trailers to follow any route we set.”
Bates said he understands there could be 50 to 60 trucks an hour on a roundabout to and from by Pilot Truck stop.
“We also have foot traffic,” Bates said. “I can’t vote for this.”
Cochran Engineering prepared the drawing as part a city of Pacific funding application. The $168,000 fee will only be charged to the city if the grant application is successful, according to Selby.
“If we don’t get the grant then we don’t owe Cochran anything. Even if we do get the grant we could decide to have someone else do the engineering,” Selby said.
“Cochran works with the state and their people probably put time into this drawing also,” he said. “There is an application fee that if we don’t get the grant we get back also.”
Selby said that Cochran has done this for the city over the years.
“They draw something like this up on their time knowing that if we get the grant they may have a good chance of receiving the work,” Selby said.