COLUMBIA — More than 20 years since the extension of Lemone Industrial Boulevard north to Stadium Boulevard was first discussed, Columbia’s Public Works Department might finally have a concrete plan for where to dump the cement.
The newest plan is to extend Maguire Boulevard, rather than Lemone Industrial Boulevard itself, to Stadium Boulevard. Maguire lies just east of Lemone Industrial Boulevard. The project is intended to alleviate traffic and related problems, according to a report from Public Works Director John Glascock that was presented at Monday night’s City Council meeting.
Currently the only way to reach U.S. 63 from the Concorde Office and Industrial Plaza, an industrial park created by Little Dixie Development that is home to 10 businesses and runs the entire length of Lemone Industrial Boulevard, is to head south to New Haven Road. Having only one way in or out has caused a potential fire hazard and traffic problems during rush hours, leading to the council approving the extension of the boulevard in November 2006.
The reason for the change is that Maguire Boulevard can connect to New Haven Road further away from the U.S. 63/Route AC intersection, according to Glascock’s report. Maguire Boulevard would connect to Warren Road to the southeast, near the point where Warren Road intersects New Haven Road. This is expected to further relieve traffic woes by providing two access points to the south and one in the north at Stadium Boulevard, which would be extended about 600 feet east to meet the new road.
Glascock said the new plan would not change the original $8.9 million estimated price tag. Construction is expected to begin in 2009.
Of the $8.9 million total, the city would pay $5 million toward the construction of two bridges over the North and South Forks of Grindstone Creek, which lies between New Haven Road and U.S. 63.
Stadium 63 Properties will pay for a portion of the road through a transportation development district, which levies an additional sales tax on purchases in the district.
Bob LeMone, owner of Little Dixie Development, said he would pay for the rest himself.
Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala said he’d prefer to see Lemone Industrial Boulevard just connect to Warren Road, eliminating the Stadium Boulevard tie-in with Maguire. He did not think that the extension of Stadium was necessary.
While Skala said “there needs to be another way to Lemone,” he also criticized the financing. Skala said that even though the extension has been trumpeted as a “private-public partnership,” the public will pay the most. He criticized Stadium 63 Properties’ use of sales taxes to pay for a road that primarily would benefit private businesses.
“We’re probably going to end up spending $10 or 11 million before it’s through, and I don’t think it’s going to solve the problem,” he said.