COLUMBIA — Plans to widen a seven-mile stretch of Route K to create bicycle lanes are pedaling into action this week.
Crews have started clearing vegetation to make way for new four-foot-wide shoulders on each side of the road, which will double as bicycle lanes, said Charles Sullivan, resident engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation.
After the lanes are added, the road and the lanes will be resurfaced and striped, Sullivan said.
The expanded portion will span from Route 163 to just a few hundred feet past McBaine, and the lanes will extend all the way to Boone County's southwestern edge and connect to the Katy Trail, Sullivan said.
Currently, no lane closures are in effect. However, that will change as the project nears its deadline and more significant construction begins. During that time, road closures will be at various locations throughout the route.
Workers will be present along Route K throughout the course of the project and drivers are advised to slow down while in the area.
The project is expected to be completed by this fall, but the plans have been a long time coming. A public meeting held last July proposed the new bicycle lanes, according to a previous Missourian report. Earlier this year, contractor bids were requested, but all of the bids were higher than the estimated budget, Sullivan said.
After discussions with contractors, suggested changes were incorporated into the plans and new bids were submitted, Sullivan said. The winning bid went to APAC-Missouri, a road construction company from Columbia.
The $2 million budget is part of a significantly smaller transportation budget compared to those of previous years. Transportation funds have decreased substantially statewide, Sullivan said, and MoDOT has had to prioritize projects to accommodate these changes.
The Route K bicycle lanes are at the top of the list of projects and will promote safe travel for both drivers and bicyclists on Route K. The new infrastructure will increase tourism to the area, according to a MoDOT press release.
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