The delay in getting the Springfield Road improvement project under way is forcing the city, the St. Clair R-XIII School District and St. Clare Catholic School to come up with a plan that will provide the least inconvenience when the academic year starts next month.
The first day of school is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 16. The city anticipates getting the notice to proceed from the Missouri Department of Transportation on Monday, July 23.
The reconstruction project will overhaul Springfield Road on both sides of Highway 30. The east part of the road is scheduled to be resurfaced from Main Street to Highway 30 while the sidewalks on both sides will be upgraded and new water and relined sewer lines installed. From the city limits to Highway 30 on the west side, a heavier resurfacing will take place and a new sidewalk will be put in on one side with new water and relined sewer lines running the entire length.
The project originally was scheduled to begin in May.
Both City Administrator Rick Childers and R-XIII Assistant Superintendent Mark Denbow said the plan is to work on the east side of the project first. That side of the street includes St. Clair Elementary School and St. Clare Catholic School.
“We talked this through with everyone involved and tried to work out the best schedule for everyone,” Childers told The Missourian. “We tried to figure out a plan that will have the least detrimental impact on the schools and the project itself, and that led to the half-and-half schedule.”
Childers estimated it should take about five or six weeks to complete East Springfield Road, which should put its completion sometime at the end of August or in early September.
“There will have to be some traffic management, especially around the (St. Clair elementary) school” Childers said. “But the plan is to not tie up traffic and not affect the buses.
The St. Clair Board of Aldermen were updated on the project Monday night during its regular meeting.
“The contractors indicated that the street is wide enough that they’re going to be able to maintain two lanes of traffic at all times during the construction with one day of paving,” Mayor Ron Blum said, adding that before the paving takes place the road will have a gravel surface.
Denbow told the R-XIII Board of Education earlier this month that communications he has had with the city and with Lamke Construction officials, the company awarded the project bid, have centered on student dropoff and pickup during the construction period.
“It was determined to start the project on the East Springfield end and work toward Shady Street with the goal to get this section ready to be traveled before the school start date,” Denbow said.
Shady Street is located one block west of Bardot Street. St. Clair Elementary sits on the south side of East Springfield Road between those two streets with the main entrance and pupil bus dropoff and pickup in the loading area off of Bardot Street.
St. Clare Catholic School is at 125 E. Springfield Road on the north side of the road closer to Highway 30.
Denbow said the plan currently is to have normal kindergarten through second-grade parent and bus dropoff and pickup. However, he said, prekindergarten and early childhood parent dropoff and pickup will need to be altered.
“These parents will need to park and drop off and pick up (children) in the parking lot behind the St. Clair Elementary and not on Springfield Road,” he said.
Denbow also said teachers and other school staff will need to park their vehicles in the school’s parking lot on the other side of East Springfield Road as well as in the First Baptist Church parking lot across Bardot Street.
In addition, the assistant superintendent said when actual paving takes place, the school district possibly will have to reroute both parents and buses for one or two days.
“We will deal with that when the time comes,” Denbow said.
St. Clare Catholic School Principal Mary Hoffman said the potential difficulties she has with the construction is that all access to her school is from East Springfield.
“What they told me was that they were going to keep a double lane of traffic at all times,” she said of information she has obtained. “We don’t have any other entrance other than Springfield Road, so our parents don’t have any other option other than to deal with it the best they can.”
When East Springfield Road is finished, the West Springfield half will start. This end of the project also creates potential school-related issues as traffic and bus routes may have to be altered on the road during portions of the project.
“We will keep you informed of all future updates,” Denbow said.