Washington city officials are calling the scheduled Bluff Road improvement project necessary, but “disruptive.”
Director of Public Services John Nilges Monday told council members that the right of way acquisition for the project is nearly complete. The council approved four ordinances Monday, executing two quit claim deeds and two temporary construction easements.
The Bluff Road project will include 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 Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) traffic signals and controller and an Ameren light pole.
“This is going to be a potentially very disruptive project that is in dire need to get done,” Nilges said.
The work is slated to begin around Memorial Day 2018, and end early August 2018.
According to Nilges, the right of way acquisition has not pushed back the completion date of the project, but it has altered it.
“We are on schedule but it is getting tighter and tighter as we get closer,” he said. “(Acquisition) doesn’t slow the process but it gets condensed toward the end.”
The East-West Council of Governments approved STP funds for the project in the 2014-17 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for the St. Louis region.
Nilges said the city received a nine-month extension for completion of the work earlier this year during discussions with MoDOT when a roundabout was proposed at Highway 100 and Bluff Road. The roundabout plan was nixed but Nilges said the additional time still is available.
“I don’t think we will utilize (the extension),” he said.
Under the STP grant, the cost of the project is estimated at $825,000. The $660,000 federal grant will cover 80 percent of the project cost. The city’s share is estimated at $165,000.
The STP agreement with the highway commission states that the federal grant is not to exceed the $660,000 amount and that any costs over the project estimate are the city’s responsibility.
Nilges added the city will use $50,000 in funds from the Franklin County Transportation Council, as well as an additional $100,000 from STP Small Urban Non-Attributable. These funds must be utilized by 2019 or the city loses them, Nilges said.
Some of those funds will go toward a box culvert. City officials became concerned during the project design that some metal piping running under the street were in “pretty rough shape” and were unlikely to survive the improvement project. The solution would be to replace the old pipes with a simple box culvert. The plans call for a 10-foot by 9-foot box culvert at the site.
A temporary traffic signal will be necessary at Vossbrink Drive and Highway 100 once the Bluff Road work begins. The light is estimated to cost $50,000.
While Bluff Road is closed, Nilges said traffic in the industrial park will be rerouted and forced to use Vossbrink Drive. The intersection of Highway 100 and Vossbrink does not have a signal.
A traffic study showed 6,400 cars travel on that road every day. With the increase coming from the industrial park, MoDOT suggested adding a temporary signal for the duration of the Bluff Road closure.