COLUMBIA — Construction bids for the extension of Mick Deaver Memorial Drive will be accepted early next week in a continuing effort to alleviate traffic around MU’s sports complexes.
The corridor chosen for extension will run south of Champions Drive around Mizzou Arena and connect with Providence Road. It is expected to be completed before the Fall 2008 semester begins.
Associate Director of Campus Facilities Phil Shocklee said the extension of Mick Deaver Memorial Drive is part of a 2005 agreement between MU and the Missouri Department of Transportation. The Transportation Department put in a traffic signal on Providence Road, near Reactor Field, and MU promised to complete the Mick Deaver extension.
Environmental factors have been a major concern in planning and construction of the road extension.
Shocklee said the route chosen had the most minimal environmental impact. He said construction will try to follow the natural slope of the land to minimize cut, fill and tree removal. Shocklee said the trees that are removed will be used as fuel for MU’s power plant or as mulch for the site.
But Ken Midkiff, conservation chair of the Osage Sierra Club, said he is opposed to the plan because of its environmental impact on the area. He said he’s most concerned about a wooded area that will be cleared and environmental codes that might be broken as a result of the extension.
“I’m not an engineer,” Midkiff said. “But I could choose a much better corridor myself.”
In choosing the corridor for the road extension, director of MU’s Environmental Health and Safety Department Peter Ashbrook explained that there were a couple of driving factors. “Cost is the biggest driver,” Ashbrook said. “But (the corridor chosen) also had the lowest environmental effect.”
He said erosion and storm water control are concerns but have been properly addressed in engineering plans. The plans call for separate out-falls for water distribution, which would discharge water periodically and evenly.
“We are committed to the Department of Natural Resources to do various control measures that would monitor land disturbances associated with construction projects,” Ashbrook said.
MU received a land disturbance permit in June 2007 from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to extend the road under certain circumstances. Abbie Stockett, environmental specialist at the Department of Natural Resources, explained that the MO-R1000 permit restricts pollution and sediment runoff, and it enforces water protection policies.
“The environmental staff at MU knows the permit,” Stockett said. “And if we have any concerns, our staff will work with them to correct them.”
While Midkiff admitted the extension is legally right, he feels it is morally wrong. “We’ll be watching,” Midkiff said. “If runoff is caused, you can be sure we’ll be contacting the proper authorities.”