Columbia has 23 infrastructure projects planned for 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:29 a.m. CST, Monday, January 13, 2014
Columbia's strategic plan for infrastructure improvements divides projects among parks; streets, sidewalks and trails; water and light systems; and sanitation.

COLUMBIA — The City Council released a comprehensive infrastructure report in December with details about projects developing this year.

The city's strategic report includes plans that are ongoing, such as sewer maintenance, as well as one-time improvements. The projects are divided among parks; streets, sidewalks and trails; water and light systems; and sanitation.

Here is what residents can expect, including short descriptions and estimated cost and completion date:


Gans Creek Recreation Area: Phase One improvements will develop 50 acres of the park in south Columbia and include a shelter, a playground, a 1.5-mile fitness trail, a dog park and seven athletic fields, said Gabe Huffington, parks service manager.

Estimated cost: $1.3 million

Estimated completion: Athletic fields could be ready in one to 1 1/2 years. The entire project will take two years to complete.

Norma Sutherland Smith Park: The 50-acre park in northeast Columbia will get a new shelter, a playground, a fitness trail, tennis courts and a basketball court, Huffington said.

Estimated cost: $250,000

Estimated completion: The project will go to the City Council for approval in February or early March. No start date has been set.

Waters-Moss Memorial Wildlife Area: Located off Old 63, Hillcrest Community Center and the Moss building will replace the community center at Stephens Lake Park, Huffington said. The site will also house park ranger offices, a medium-size shelter, a playground, restrooms and a small parking lot.

Estimated cost: $515,000

Estimated completion: Hillcrest Community Center will open in about three weeks. Construction on the Moss building will begin after the completion of the Hillcrest facility and should be completed in about two months.


Grindstone trail: The 1.76-mile concrete trail will connect the Hinkson Creek Trail in Grindstone Nature Area to Maguire Boulevard east of U.S. 63, Huffington said. The trail was shifted closer to Grindstone Creek than initially planned to avoid issues of eminent domain.

Estimated cost: $1.57 million

Estimated completion: Construction of the trail will begin this summer. The goal for completion is the end of 2014.

Scott Boulevard Phase II: This portion of the three-phase project will close Scott Boulevard between Vawter School Road and Bellview Drive for about eight months, said Steve Sapp of the Columbia Public Works Department.  The project will raise the roadbed and bridge over Hinkson Creek above the flood plain and include a roundabout at Vawter School Road. The first phase, completed in fall 2011, widened Scott Boulevard to four lanes between Rollins Road and Brookview Terrace and added bike lanes. The third phase of the project is scheduled for 2016. 

Estimated cost: $4.7 milllion

Estimated completion: Late summer 2014

College Avenue safety enhancement project: The proposed plan will place a median in the two-way left-turn lane between University Avenue and Rollins Street. Two mid-block crosswalks will be installed between Rosemary Lane and Wilson Avenue and between Wilson and Bouchelle avenues. They will include pedestrian traffic signals, new pavement markings and signs, Sapp said.

Estimated cost: $825,000

Estimated completion: A final design proposal is expected in late winter 2014.

Clark Lane improvement project: This temporary fix for pedestrian safety on Clark Lane will include an asphalt shoulder. Existing lanes will be narrowed by 1 foot on each side to make a 6-foot-wide pedestrian walkway between Ballenger and Woodland Springs, Sapp said. The final solution — paved sidewalks with a grass buffer — won't be ready until 2018 at the earliest.

Estimated cost: $600,000

Estimated completion: The project is in the design stage and does not yet have a completion date.

Four downtown sidewalks: The following sidewalks will be improved:

  1. The north side of Seventh Street at Elm Street.
  2. The south side of Seventh Street at Locust Street.
  3. The west side of Sixth Street at Cherry Street.
  4. The east side of Sixth Street at Walnut Street.

Estimated cost: $112,000

Estimated completion: The projects are scheduled for construction in 2014 and do not yet have an estimated completion date.

Runway safety improvements at Columbia Regional Airport: Before a planned extension to the runways, a line-of-sight issue between the main runway and the crosswind runway must be corrected, Sapp said. The airport is a a division of the Columbia Public Works Department.

Estimated cost: No estimated cost has been determined for this project.

Estimated completion: Construction is anticipated to begin in 2015.

Airport terminal improvements: A unisex bathroom and a snack bar will be added to the secured passenger area of the terminal of Columbia Regional Airport, Sapp said.

Estimated cost: $30,000-$40,000

Estimated completion: Construction is expected to begin in 2014. No completion rate has been determined yet.

CoMO Connect: The proposed new transportation routes will include two connectors, seven neighborhood routes and 35 bus transfer points. The downtown route is still being developed. New hours of operation will be 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays.

Estimated cost: Neutral

Estimated completion: Scheduled to go into effect Aug. 4, with a final approval of the plan in February or March. 

Passenger counters and stop enunciators on city buses:  The Federal Transit Administration requires buses to meet Americans with Disabilities Act classifications with audio and visual stop announcements, Sapp said. The passenger counters will provide the city with data about bus stops.

Estimated cost: $336,000, which includes automatic vehicle tracking and GPS that was previously installed

Estimated completion: The equipment has been installed and will be inspected on Monday.


Transmission line project: The City Council approved new transmission lines from a new substation in Mill Creek to meet the electricity demands in south Columbia. The approved route will run along Providence Road, Grindstone Parkway, Nifong Boulevard, Vawter School Road and Scott Boulevard. Final cost and timeline projections are expected in summer 2014, said Connie Kacprowicz, a utility services specialist in Columbia.

Estimated cost at July 15 public hearing: $13.1 million

Estimated completion: June 2017

Biomass test: In 2013, Columbia Water and Light received a grant to conduct a trial burn of a concentrated form of biomass called “eCARB,” which is made from grasses and corn stover, or waste parts, said Nancy Heimann, president and CEO of Enginuity Worldwide, the company that makes it. The condensed pellets resemble coal, which makes them easier to incorporate into Columbia’s power plants. The test will yield information on more ways the city can fulfill its renewable-energy goals.

Cost of test burn after grant: $250,000 

Estimated test burn date: Summer

Electric infrastructure plan: With an annual 2 percent increase in customer demand, Columbia Water and Light is initiating a report that will outline long-term options to improve and expand the city’s electric infrastructure.

Timeline: Ongoing


Three new water wells: It is a common misunderstanding that Columbia gets its water from the Missouri River, Kacprowicz said. Instead, it comes from an underground aquifer in the river bottoms near McBaine. Three new wells will help Columbia meet demand.

Estimated cost: $1.05 million

Estimated installation: Summer

24-inch water transmission line: In the hierarchy of water transport pipes, transmission lines do the heavy lifting. Eastern Columbia, which is served by distribution lines and the second-widest pipes, will receive 4,500 feet of transmission line pipe to keep pace with customer demand and provide firefighters with more reliable water access.

Estimated cost: $1.7 million

Construction begins: January

Backup generators: Columbia’s three pumping stations will each have backup generators in order to get water to customers during power outages. Previously, Columbia relied on water towers to act as a reserve in the absence of electricity, Kacprowicz said.

Estimated cost: $500,000 has been set aside

Estimated timeline: To be announced


Three private common-collector sewer elimination reconstruction projects: Many private sewer collectors in Columbia were either not built to city code or built before the city annexed the property. The Sanitary Sewer Utility has three projects in the works to upgrade these systems and eventually take them over, and eight more are planned for future renovation.

Estimated cost: To replace all identified private lines, the total cost in today's dollars is estimated at $18 million. In addition to the 11 projects, there would likely be more.

Estimated completion: Ongoing

Remove sources of inflow and infiltration: Inflow happens when stormwater is piped into the sanitary sewer line — for example, by directing a home's downspout — causing it to overload. Infiltration is when stormwater seeps into the sanitary sewer line cracks.

Timeline: Ongoing

Sanitary sewer cost of service study: This report, in the proposal stage, will find how much the sewer utility will cost to operate in the future. It will include capital improvements and various sewer projects.

Stormwater capital improvement plan projects: There is confusion about the difference between the sanitary sewer and the stormwater system, Sapp said. For years, the stormwater system was called the "storm sewer." While the sanitary sewer line goes to a treatment facility, stormwater is emptied to creeks. Two stormwater line replacements are scheduled for 2014, one at Ash and Hubble streets and another at Hitt and Elm streets.

Easement acquisition for sewer projects: Before moving ahead with seven sanitary sewer projects, the city must acquire easements from property owners. The cost of the easements depends on property value and the negotiation process.

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