COLUMBIA — Columbia residents will soon get the opportunity to weigh in on plans to modify Stadium Boulevard and several streets intersecting it.
City officials and representatives from the Missouri Department of Transportation will respond to questions and comments at a hearing from 4 to 6:30 p.m. May 24 at the Activity and Recreation Center, 1701 W. Ash St.
The meeting is meant gather feedback on plans to modify Stadium Boulevard, Fairview Road, Bernadette Drive and the Stadium Boulevard and I-70 interchange over the next three years.
“We’ll have displays and preliminary plans showing the proposed improvements,” MoDOT Transportation Project Manager Nicole Hood said. “They can learn about the project, then share their comments with members of the project team … We’ll consider their comments and ensure that we work with them towards addressing them on our final plans.”
The current plan includes widening Stadium Boulevard to six lanes separated by a median; changing the intersection of Stadium Boulevard and I-70 into a diverging diamond interchange; widening and adding bicycle lanes to Fairview Road; and adding traffic lights at the intersections of Bernadette Drive and Hutchens Drive and Bernadette Drive and Knipp Street, both of which will serve as entrances to the Columbia Mall.
Though an official schedule has not been determined, Hood said the construction will occur through 2014.
“We’re trying to finalize (the construction dates) right now,” Hood said. “We’re looking at the finances right now to determine which phases of the project will happen at certain dates.”
Hood anticipates some of the work to begin in the fall. One phase of the project, which modifies the entrance to the Crossroads West Shopping Center at 2101 W. Broadway, has already been completed.
Major intersections along Stadium that will be altered by the construction include: Bernadette Drive, Worley Street, Ash Street and Broadway. Additional land for rights-of-way and easements will be needed at the corners of those intersections, which will cut into business owners’ properties.
“We’re going to show the preliminary plans at the public hearing so that business owners can see which pieces of land we would like to purchase from them,” Columbia Supervising Engineer of Traffic Scott Bitterman said.
The modifications will cost roughly $20 million. Half of the cost will be funded by MoDOT. The other half will come from funds the City of Columbia will collect from three transportation development districts – the Stadium Corridor, the Columbia Mall and the Shoppes at Stadium.
Hood said the changes will benefit motorists.
“The overall purpose of the changes is to improve the traffic flow through the area to result in fewer traffic delays and congestion in the area,” Hood said.
According to Hood, the construction will increase traffic and congestion in the area temporarily.
“Motorists should expect delays during the construction period,” Hood said.