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MoDOT won’t put signal at Deerwood Drive

File photo

A representative from the Lochmueller Group, a traffic consultant, told The Jackson Mayor and Board of Aldermen Feb. 22 that a traffic signal at U.S. Hwy. 61 North and Deerwood Drive is out of the question. MoDOT will consider only a roundabout there.

Chris Beard said a traffic study made by the City in 2017-18 addressed traffic congestion at that intersection and determined that a traffic signal was not warranted. In 2019, MoDOT conducted its own study and agreed.

Congestion happens only at certain peak traffic times. A traffic signal would cycle on a regular basis and stop traffic on Highway 61 when there would be no need to stop it.

MoDOT has certain criteria that must be met before it will install traffic signals. This intersection doesn’t meet that criteria. There are no criteria to be met in order to install roundabouts.

There have been very few traffic crashes at this intersection; just six since 2014, and only one involved an injury. The intersection doesn’t pose a safety risk.

A roundabout would serve to slow down traffic as it enters the city on the north side. With landscaping, it would serve as a “gateway to the city.”

City Attorney Curtis Poore said he had discussed the project’s cost-sharing agreement with MoDOT and expressed the City’s concerns with some of the language. MoDOT will now allow the City to opt out of the contract if the need arrises. But MoDOT would not budge on other items, such as setting a reimbursement date for costs if the City opts out, changing the venue from Cole County if litigation issues arise, and changing the indemnification clause.

This will be a joint project between the City and Mo-DOT. The City will be in charge of the project following MoDOT specifications. The costs will be split 50/50 up to $2 million. MoDOT has a $1 million cap on the project; if there are costs overruns, that will be the city’s responsibility.

Engineering work will begin this year; land acquisition is scheduled for next year and construction is slated to begin in 2024.

On Monday night, March 7, several Aldermen expressed some reservations about putting a roundabout at this location. However, it was felt that it would be needed in the future (Deerwood is a “collector” street designed to handle more traffic), and the cost for a roundabout will only go up. They approved the cost-share agreement with MoDOT.

In other action

• Electric lines moved: The aldermen approved three memorandums of understanding with homeowners to move electric lines at 2024 Watson Drive in Bent Creek Spring Lake Addition, and 1690 Woodland East and 1730 Woodland East in Woodland Oaks Subdivision.

• Comprehensive Plan: The Board of Aldermen approved the mayor’s appointment of Joe Bob Baker, Tony Koeller, Harry Dryer, Janet Sanders and Rodney Bollin-ger to the 2022 Comprehensive Plan Update Steering Committee.

• Public hearings set: The Board set two public hearings for 6 p.m. Monday, March 21, at City Hall. The first is to consider the rezoning of 2.65 acres of property at 720 S. Old Orchard Rd. from R-1 (single family residential) to C-2 (general commercial), as submitted by Independence Self Storage. (No one spoke at a public hearing earlier in the meeting to consider the voluntary annexation of this property into the City of Jackson.)

The second public hearing set for March 21 is to consider a special use permit for a bakery as a home occupation in an R-2 (single family residential) district at 828 Eagle Dr., as submitted by Darrell and Mandy Hatfield.

• Daycare: The Board held a public hearing to consider a special use permit for an existing daycare under new ownership in an R-4 (general residential) district at 1327 E. Main St., as submitted by Tot Spot Academy and Preschool, LLC.

Three people spoke in favor of the request; no one spoke in opposition. The Aldermen approved the permit later in the meeting.

• Sanitary sewer: It was reported during study session that in November 2021, bids went out for work on the Kimbeland Lift Station Upgrade and Bypass project. None were returned to the City.

After discussions with contractors, the City has requested bids again.

The Aldermen also discussed four scenarios regarding wastewater utility rates and will soon approve standard design and construction specifications for wastewater facilities.

• Water tower: The Board discussed again three possible sites for a new water tower on the northeast side of town near Ridge Road. Alderman Larry Cunningham recommended the City study the site that is owned by the City (the other two would need to be purchased) and either build the water tower there or reject that site as unusable, before considering other sites. Alderman Katy Liley agreed.

• Hubble Creek ford: City Engineer Anna Bergmark told the Board that during a pre-construction meeting, contractors requested that Cascade Street be closed completely in City Park while construction on a new bridge is underway. The closed street will be used for staging and storing materials.

Parkview will remain open.

The new bridge across Hubble Creek is expected to be completed in July.

Meanwhile, it is hoped that the bid for the Mary Street bridge replacement across Hubble Creek will be awarded in June so construction can begin in August.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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