The intersection of Deerwood Drive and U.S. Highway 61 on the north side of Jackson keeps getting busier. There is a growing housing development on the west side and the Jackson Civic Center, baseball field and a new church on the east side.
With traffic roaring up and down Highway 61 between Jackson and Fruitland, it can be hard to make left turns at this intersection, and traffic can back up.
The Jackson Mayor and Board of Aldermen are aware of the situation. To ease congestion, they restriped Deerwood to add left turn lanes, which has helped.
The Board would like to see a traffic signal installed at this intersection. But because Highway 61 is a state highway, the signal would have to be a MoDOT project.
To bolster their argument that a traffic signal is needed, the City hired the Lochmueller Group to conduct a traffic study. Cheryl Sharp of the Lochmueller Group gave a presentation during the study session May 18. She said neither traffic levels nor the history of crashes at this intersection warrant traffic signals. (There have been just six crashes since 2014.)
MoDOT did a traffic signal study of its own at this intersection in 2019 and decided a signal was not needed, she added.
If a traffic signal were installed, the intersection would become 19 percent safer. However, a roundabout at this location would make the intersection 40 percent safer, she said. “Our recommendation is a roundabout,” she said.
City Administrator Jim Roach said the Board of Aldermen will consider approving the Lochmueller study at a future meeting before city staff will approach MoDOT about improving the intersection.
• Utility bills: The Board agreed to waive late payment penalties to city utility customers for the March 1, April 1 and May 1 utility bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (See related story in this issue.)
• Police station: The Board approved a change order reducing the contract by $174.21 to Penzel Construction Co, Inc., of Jackson, for its work as design-builder of the new police station.
“This is historic,” said Alderman Larry Cunningham. On a $6.5 million project, the actual cost came out only $174.21 less than the contract.
Mayor Dwain Hahs said a lot of credit goes to the design-build process, as opposed to sending projects out to bid.
In a related item, the Board accepted the low bid of $1,483.50 per month from Squeaky Clean Cleaning Service, LLC, of Jackson, to provide cleaning services for the new police station.
• New hotel: On a 5-2 vote, the Board approved a modification to the development agreement with Midwest Hospitality Group, LLC, for construction of a hotel at 3003 S. Old Orchard Rd.
The contract calls for a $25,000 forfeiture if the hotel is not completed by June 30. Current plans call for the hotel to open by June 15. However, there have been delays caused by the Center Junction construction and the COVID-19 pandemic. The company requested that it be given another month before it has to forfeit $25,000.
• Public hearing set: The Board set a public hearing for 6 p.m. Monday, June 15, to consider a special use permit for a commercial parking lot in an R-4 (general residential) district, to expand the existing parking lot to include 219 N. Missouri St., as submitted by the County of Cape Girardeau.
• Underground utilities: The Board accepted the bid of Precise Target Locating of Cape Girardeau to locate the city’s underground utilities and mark them when someone calls Dig-Right.
• Minor plat: The Board approved a minor plat of Radiology Investment Group Subdivision. Under the new plat, the two lots will be more rectangular than triangular in shape.
• Roundabout: The Board authorized a contact with Montgomery Bank for the bank to adopt the center island of the new roundabout being constructed at Shawnee Boulevard and East Main Street.
When the bank decides to install a sign in the roundabout, the Board of Aldermen must approve its size, shape and color.
This is the first time the Adopt-a-Street Program has been used for a roundabout. The program is usually used along a stretch of roadway for litter cleanup.
• Municipal Court: A marathon docket for municipal court will be held Wednesday, May 27, in the Missouri Room at the new county courthouse. There has been a backlog due to COVID-19. “We will work until we get all the cases done,” reported City Attorney Tom Ludwig. On Wednesday, June 10, municipal court should be back on its regular schedule.