A local contractor submitted the low bid for a much awaited Bluff Road project but there still is a review process before work can actually begin.
Washington Director of Public Services John Nilges said the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and Federal Highway Commission still must sign off on the $1,228,469 bid from KJ Unnerstall Construction, Washington. The bid is lower than the engineer’s estimate of $1.4 million.
Nilges stated he was “expecting a much higher number.” There were a total of three bidders, but only two bidders met the bid specifications, he said.
He said the work will take 90 days once the contractor is given notice to proceed, pushing the project into the early fall, and during the Washington Town & Country Fair.
“I don’t have the start date yet because it is contingent on MoDOT reviewing it and the federal government reviewing it, and they have been inundated with projects and are working fairly slow right now,” Nilges stated.
Work also is expected to be during the beginning of the 2018-19 school year — something the city had tried to avoid.
“It will occur during the Fair, I already went to the Fair Board to let them know,” Nilges added. “We are rushing to get it done to not impede the 2018 fall school year but I do think it will get into that school year a little bit as well.”
The project is funded through a federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) grant.
Scope of Work
The project includes a 4-inch asphalt overlay from Highway 100 to the city limits, improving a grade condition by elevating the road north of the approach to Highway 100, and adding a right turn lane from Bluff onto westbound Highway 100.
The project also will add safety improvements with 2-foot shoulders and guardrails along a portion of the road north of Highway 100, and relocation of MoDOT traffic signals and controller and an Ameren light pole.
A temporary traffic signal will be necessary at Vossbrink Drive and Highway 100 once the Bluff Road work begins. The signal will be removed once the project is completed.
“When traffic closes on Bluff we will need a signalized intersection, that will be removed at the end of the project, in totality,” Nilges said. “So we won’t get the benefit of keeping the signals there.”
Nilges told The Missourian that he will be notified of road closures over a week in advance and the public will be notified through the media, and social media. Industries on Bluff Road will be contacted directly.
“We would anticipate a great deal of traffic into the industrial park,” he explained. “I would also anticipate a great deal of traffic through the city through the park system because there is only two ways — three ways technically — in and out of the industrial park.”
There will be a complete roadway reconstruction from ME Frick Road to Lange Drive.
“This will require a closure of the pavement section between these two streets,” Nilges said.
He noted that the contractor will not be permitted to have Bluff Road closed between Highway 100 and Westlink at the same time as the closure between ME Frick and Lange Drive.
“The closures must stagger. This will ensure access to The Missourian, Sahm Welding, Melton Machine and Frick’s at all times,” Nilges added. “This being said, commuters must remain aware which access is open to their destination.”
Nilges explained that once Bluff Road between Highway 100 and Westlink Drive closes, the only access to the industrial park will be Vossbrink Drive, Westlink Drive and Bluff Road from the west.
“Finally, asphalt paving/overlay will be taking place on Bluff Road from Highway 100 to Vossbrink,” he said. “Motorists should expect delays and reduced access along the entire corridor.”
Nilges explained that the scope of work includes replacement of a box culvert that was not included when the city sought STP funds five years ago. The grant requires a local match of 20 percent.
The city is responsible for the full amount of that box culvert, which Nilges noted is necessary.
“It becomes a much bigger project because of the box culvert, but it is the right thing to do,” he said. “You would not place 5 feet of fill over the top of it and build a roadway over that without replacing it.”
The STP grant will fund about $591,449.96 of the project, and the city will receive $120,000 from MoDOT Small Urban Non-Attributable Federal Aid Funds that will expire in 2019 if they are not used.
The city also will utilize a Franklin County Transportation Grant of $50,000. The remaining $467,019 will come from the city’s coffers, which could be funded from the city’s stormwater fund.
“I have been corralling as much as I could in anticipation of this project,” Nilges commented.