The planned construction of an intersection at Route K and Scott Boulevard might be delayed if the city, county and state cannot cover cost overruns.
The intersection is considered a vital piece of infrastructure by Columbia, Boone County and the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission, but each entity is scrambling to come up with the extra money necessary to buy right of way and to relocate utilities.
“Normally the county purchases a certain width (of right of way),” said engineer Don Abell of the Boone County Public Works Department, which is overseeing the construction. “But State Route K is a (Missouri Department of Transportation) road, and we had to acquire more land to meet their standards.”
In a development agreement, each entity agreed in March 2005 to pay a certain percentage of the estimated $562,000 price tag and any extra expenses. The cost of the intersection is now $873,529, and the county is asking the city to pay an additional $130,977, along with the $270,000 it pledged at the outset.
Plans call for construction to begin in early May and conclude in early August. But if the city and the highway commission are unable to commit additional money soon, construction might not start until June, which would extend the project into late August, Abell said.
“One complication from delaying construction is that it gets into the school year and we’d have to alter bus routes,” he said.
Abell said it took longer than expected to buy right of way.
“Not everyone voluntarily donated,” Abell said. “Real estate values are pretty good down there, so we had to conduct some independent appraisals in order to be fair. But it went smoothly for the most part.”
The intersection, which will include a left turn lane and conduits for future traffic signals, is important to the city because it will allow for the extension of Scott Boulevard to Route K and provide the city a major north-south traffic corridor. The extension would coincide with the city’s three-part, $14.6 million plan to upgrade unimproved sections of Scott Boulevard from Brookview Terrace to Rollins Road and from Vawter School Road to the MKT Trail.
“It’s a necessity because of all the development that’s going in down there,” said David Nichols, chief engineer for the city Public Works Department.
Nichols said the request for additional money will be on the next City Council agenda, but it might take several weeks before the council votes on it.
Local developer Jack Dougherty will build the extension of Scott Boulevard from Route KK to Route K. The new section of road will bisect his Deerfield subdivision.
“He took care of the design and all aspects of the grading,” Nichols said. “It meets city standards, provides him the flexibility he needs and helped everyone involved avoid a long process of putting together a development agreement.”