COLUMBIA — Tom Mendenhall is happy to hear Route K will get some bicycle lanes.
Mendenhall, president of the Bonne Femme Neighborhood Association, said the group is eager to see bike lanes on a seven-mile section of the rural highway south of Columbia. It is about to get its wish.
Beginning in spring 2012, the Missouri Department of Transportation will widen Route K by eight feet, four feet on either side, to allow for two-way bicycle lanes between Missouri 163 and the Katy Trail at McBaine. At the same time, that stretch of Route K will be resurfaced, District Planning Manager Mike Dusenbergcq said.
The bike-lane project will cost $2 million.
Dusenberg said he had not yet received a schedule from the project’s design team, but he anticipates the work will be done by fall 2012.
The Columbia Area Transportation Study Organization, a group of city, county and state planners who assess Columbia and Boone County's street and highway needs, first asked the Missouri Department of Transportation to consider the project.
“We had inquired about bicycle and pedestrian needs in various regions in our district, and that was one of the locations that was brought to our attention by the group as a priority,” Dusenberg said.
State highway planners thought the project was of “statewide significance” because of its connection to the Katy Trail.
“We had determined there were a number of bicyclists who live in the area and use Route K quite a bit to get back and forth between the city and their neighborhoods, or they use it to access the Katy Trail,” Dusenberg said. “Route K is a two-lane, minor road. Typically, it would be called a rural road, but it carries a heavy amount of traffic."
Mendenhall said neighbors will be glad to see the project complete. “We’re lucky we haven’t had somebody run over. It’s just a great, big, necessary improvement.”
Mendenhall is also a volunteer with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation Committee, which advocated for the new bicycle lanes and shoulders.
Eighty percent of the money required for the bike lanes will come from federal enhancement funds that are intended for community transportation projects other than highway improvements. The other 20 percent will come from district money.
The district will pay for road resurfacing separately.