It is unlikely that a roundabout will be built at the Bluff Road and Highway 100 intersection following protests by the city of Washington.
That’s according to Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Area Engineer Judy Wagner following a meeting Thursday between city engineering staff, MoDOT and the design-build team that proposed the intersection.
Wagner said there has been no official word to scrap the plans but MoDOT is expecting a letter from the city of Washington stating that it does not support a roundabout at that location.
The Washington City Council will review the letter Monday.
As part of a design-build project focused primarily on safety improvements in Franklin and St. Charles counties, contractors with MoDOT proposed a roundabout at the intersection that would connect with a major federally funded Surface Transportation Program on Bluff Road. The $24 million design-build project contract was awarded in May to N.B. West, which is partnered with Horner & Shifrin, Inc., Lochmueller Group and Engineering Design Source Inc.
John Nilges, director of public services, Monday told the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee that he learned of the plan “in error” when a design team was seeking information on a Bluff Road improvement project slated for construction next year.
Members of the city committee questioned the intersection’s design, location on a 55 mph road and proximity to the Heidmann and Schulze Industrial parks. Some members supported the idea.
If the roundabout plan is dropped by the design-build team, it will move onto the next site on the priority list.
However, there still could be safety upgrades to the Highway 100 and Bluff Road intersection, according to Wagner.
“Even if the roundabout is not selected we still would look at safety improvements,” she said. “Potentially this could be done with an STP project or through our normal funding mechanisms.”
Wagner added there are some improvements MoDOT could do in-house, including reflective surfaces or “friction treatments” to the roadway.
“There are crashes that have occurred there,” she said. “There will be 30 percent-plus safety improvements with just what the city is doing (the Bluff Road STP). If I could do a few more at low cost we would get more bang for our buck.”
Wagner said the plans for the design-build project have not been made public.
Under the program there are 28 sites proposed for 34 safety improvements in Franklin and St. Charles counties.
The design-build team used varying safety measures at each site, but the only proposed roundabout is in Washington.
Bluff Road Project
The 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 MoDOT traffic signals and controller and an Ameren light pole.
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.