COLUMBIA — Residents agreed Scott Boulevard needs a face-lift, but how its proposed reconstruction should happen was the subject of an unprecedented joint public hearing of the Boone County Commission and Columbia City Council on Monday night.
Some neighborhood representatives voiced concerns at the hearing that under the city’s current plan the road would encroach into yards and decrease property values. The plan calls for the expansion of the 1.9-mile section from Rollins Road to Brookview Terrace.
The project, which will cost an estimated $11.2 million, is slated to begin in 2009 and would expand the current two-lane road into a four-lane road with bike paths and sidewalks.
In addition to the road improvements, the proposal calls for a pedestrian underpass just east of Chapel Hill Road to accommodate a future trail. A traffic light is suggested at the intersection with Chapel Hill Road.
After the joint hearing adjourned, council members said they needed more information before making a decision.
“We’ve only got one chance of doing it right,” Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade said.
Wade also reminded the council that if the plan underwent any “significant changes,” it would need to be re-approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, a process that would require more time and money.
Under the current plan, funding for the project would come from the city, the Missouri Department of Transportation and Boone County. Last March, the city estimated its contribution would be about $6.2 million.
The need to improve Scott Boulevard, a narrow and hilly road that in some places lacks any curbs or gutters, has been discussed for years. Pressure to do the work has increased as developers have built thousands of new homes in new subdivisions that funnel traffic onto the street.
The city in March held an open house to get public input on the reconstruction project. Monday’s meeting was the last chance for Columbia and Boone County residents to offer their opinions on the project.
County commissioners sat in on the public hearing because significant portions of Scott Boulevard, which doubles as state Route TT, lie within the county’s jurisdiction. It remains to be decided how much the county and the Missouri Department of Transportation will contribute to the project.