An archaeological survey required by the state before Washington can move forward with a Busch Creek Greenway should begin soon.
On Thursday, Sal Maniaci told The Missourian he was contacted by the lead archaeologist with SCI Engineering, Inc. who will soon determine when the work can be conducted based on the forecast.
The city council Monday approved a contract with SCI for the cost of $4,700.
The Busch Creek Greenway calls for a mixture of on- and off-street trails. The project would involve the city constructing a 10-foot path along Busch Creek on city-owned property.
The archaeological study will be conducted on portions of the proposed walking and bicycle path that run parallel to the creek.
In January, the city secured funding for the project, utilizing a Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant to fund the 3-mile-long trail.
The greenway is an 80-20 cost share project through the Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and the federal government. The city is responsible for 20 percent of the project cost. The federal portion of the grant is $580,162. The city match would be about $145,000.
The city submitted an environmental study but MoDOT also requires an archaeological survey for this project.
“Because we are proposing to do work along a waterway on the bank of the Busch Creek, they’re requiring us to do an archaeological survey to make sure there are no significant artifacts placed there, or no burial grounds or anything of that sort,” Maniaci said.
MoDOT contracted with SCI to do a study along the Missouri River during the Highway 47 bridge project, Maniaci said.
He added the work shouldn’t take more than a few days because the trail follows the creek for a short distance in two locations.
“About eight out of 10 times they don’t find anything because it is hard to prove that is where (an artifact) originated when it is by the riverbank,” he commented.
The city was required to conduct an archaeological survey during the TEAM Track project and when items were found the city had to pay to have them cleaned and processed.
Although the Busch Creek archaeological survey was “unexpected,” Maniaci noted, the environmental study was under budget.
“If this comes back clear and clean, it will be significantly lower than the amount budgeted for the environmental study,” he said.
Maniaci said initial plans called for construction of the trail in late 2019, but he now expects the work to conclude in early 2020.
The path would start at the trailhead at Jefferson and Eighth streets. The area where the old Frick’s building stood would be a parking lot for vehicles and bikes, and contain signage about things to do in Washington.
The path would stay off the street and run along the creek to Highway 47 and Eighth Street. Previously the trail was to go onto McArthur Street, which has been removed from the plan. The change must be approved by MoDOT.
From Eighth Street, the path would head south onto Camp Street and then go east on Ninth Street until it went back off-street at Ninth and International.
The on-street portion of the trail is similar to the current bike trail already designated by the city. For the new path there would be no infrastructure changes and the city would not be adding any bike lanes or building sidewalks.
Instead there would be more signs directing people where to go on the greenway and street “sharrows” — painted markings on the street to show the road should be shared between bicyclists and vehicles.