Three-week intersection closure planned for Scott Boulevard construction

Thursday, January 16, 2014 | 6:24 p.m. CST; updated 8:09 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 16, 2014

COLUMBIA — The intersection of Scott Boulevard and Vawter School Road will be closed for three weeks during the second phase of the Scott Boulevard construction project, Columbia Public Works Department spokesman Steven Sapp said.

The city had originally planned to close the intersection for the eight-month duration of the project, from early 2014 to August.

The bridge over Hinkson Creek and a portion of Scott Boulevard between Bellview Drive and Vawter School Road will still be closed throughout the project. With the new plan, however, northbound traffic on Scott Boulevard will be able to continue east on Vawter School Road but will not be able to travel north through the bridge to remain on Scott.

Sapp said their main considerations for the partial closure are cost savings, safety for workers and environmental impact.

The Public Works Department staff decided to reduce the road closures after listening to public feedback at an Oct. 29 open house at Mill Creek Elementary School. Representatives from public safety services and Columbia Public Schools attended the meeting.

“Our customers are very clear that they want the intersection to be partially open during the majority of the project,” Sapp said.

“The big concern is convenience,” Sapp said. When the intersection is closed, people will have to travel farther when commuting to school or work via alternate routes.

Sapp said the modification would alleviate any inconvenience for public safety services and reduce the number of students affected by the closure.

Although some additional cost is expected, Sapp said he expects the project can remain within its $5.9 million budget.

Gale Blomenkamp, spokesman for the Boone County Fire Protection District, said the district has worked with the city to accommodate any disruption at Station 14 on Scott Boulevard.

"It won't influence our response time," Blomenkamp said. "The Columbia Fire Department on the other side of the bridge, they will cover our territory north of the bridge. We will cover their territory on the south of the bridge."

The second phase of the Scott Boulevard construction includes raising the roadway and building a new bridge over Hinkson Creek — both will be 9 feet higher – to reduce or prevent road closures due to flooding. It also includes a new roundabout at Scott Boulevard and Vawter School Road, as well as 3,600 feet of connected sidewalks with access to the MKT Nature/Fitness Trail.

The work is scheduled to be finished by Aug. 1.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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