Columbia and Boone County officials agreed Tuesday morning to split the cost of a traffic study to determine what should be done about a dangerous curve on Creasy Springs Road.
City planners will investigate the cost of adding Creasy Springs to a traffic survey it is already planning for Brown School Road between Creasy Springs and Range Line Street, then meet again with county officials to determine what they want to do.
The Tuesday meeting was called to address the city’s failure to consult county officials about the rerouting of an extension of Blue Ridge Road west from Garth Avenue. Blue Ridge was originally mapped out in the Major Roadway Plan to connect with Creasy Springs Road south of a dangerous curve near Prairie Hills. Now, however, the road will connect with Creasy Springs north of the curve.
“We feel that the connection from Blue Ridge will solve more problems than it will create,” Assistant City Manager Bill Watkins said.
Steve Herigon of Herigon Construction Inc. originally platted Blue Ridge Road according to the Major Roadway Plan. City officials, however, decided the terrain was too rugged because it included Bear Creek and its floodplain, acting Public Works Director John Glascock said.
“The problem with the floodplain is building across it,” Glascock said. Filling in a floodplain is permitted, but it must be done without raising the creek bed. So city planners worked with Herigon to reroute the street around the problem area.
“From an engineering perspective, this was the right move,” Watkins said. “We see (Blue Ridge) as a reliever for that hill. … Obviously, there are some folks that are going to go south and west, but we believe that more residents, particularly in the short term, will go towards the center of town.”
County commissioners were not consulted about the change in plans for Blue Ridge.
That irritates Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller, who said at the meeting, “This kind of stuff changes our priorities. It forces us to reallocate our monies.”
Watkins said, “We should have consulted with you all. We’re trying to do better. We need to make sure that we have a framework so that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.”
The commissioners and city officials agreed to consult each other when plans come up that differ from the Major Roadway Plan regardless of how insignificant the changes might appear. They will present this agreement as a potential policy to the Columbia Area Transportation Study Organization’s Technical Committee at its next meeting.
Meanwhile, development is going to continue east of Creasy Springs. County commissioners suggested looking at moving the Blue Ridge connection farther north than it is now planned to create a bit more separation from the curve.
Prairie Hills residents have expressed concern about a potential street connection that would bring traffic from Herigon’s development through their neighborhood. That connection has been put off until residents agree it would be beneficial.
“Sometime in the future, that will want to be connected,” Presiding Commissioner Keith Schnarre said.
The city is also looking into other ways to relieve the traffic north of town, including extending Providence Road.