Despite costly bids, bike lane completion deadline still stands

Sunday, April 8, 2012 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 5:35 p.m. CDT, Sunday, April 8, 2012
Richard Foley of Columbia rides down Route K on June 22. This stretch of Route K is included in a plan to widen the road to include bike lanes from Missouri 163 to the Katy Trail in McBaine. Foley said that Route K as it follows the river is one of the prettiest roads in Columbia and that even a small margin of extra space for cyclists would help a lot.

COLUMBIA — The original Dec. 1 completion deadline for adding bike lanes to Route K still stands, despite the state Highways and Transportation Commission's rejection of all the contractors' bids in January.

The expansion project will stretch seven miles from Route 163 near Rock Bridge Elementary School to the Katy Trail at McBaine and will include striped shoulders 4 feet wide on each side of the road for bicyclists. 


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The Missouri Department of Transportation anticipated a $2 million price, but the lowest bid, from Chester Bross Construction Co., totaled $2,293,825, according to state bid documents. Magruder Paving bid the highest at $2,365,968.

“When we do a project, we estimate what we think the bids should be, and then once the contractors bid on the project we look at the information and decide whether or not it’s something that should be awarded," Trent Brooks of the state Transportation Department said.

The transportation commission decided not to award the project, and Brooks said it will be rebid later this month.

"That’s a pretty tough job," Donnie Mantle, asphalt paving manager for Magruder Paving, said.

"It’s tougher than what anybody anticipated," he said. "You’ve got a lot of traffic, a narrow roadway, fuel prices are up higher now, asphalt numbers are higher—it's just going to be slow. You’re working in a housing area."

In 2010, the Boone County Commission first brought attention to the need for designated bike lanes along Route K because of the high volume of both automobile and bicycle traffic on the road. 

“Many citizens have complained about the bikes that use Route K for training," Karen Miller, Southern District commissioner, said.

"It will be safer for the driving public not worrying about bikes when they pop over a hill," Miller said. "It will be safer for the bikes, and they can still train in the same kind of environment, so it is just a win-win for everybody." 

The shoulders will serve a dual purpose not only as bike lanes but also as a safe place for vehicles to pull over away from the middle of the road. 

State highway planners determined the project was of statewide significance because of Route K's access to the cross-state Katy Trail at McBaine. A city trail running parallel to South Providence Road will be connected to the Katy Trail at McBaine via the new bike lanes. 

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