Sidewalk, street pavement problems cause concern for SR city council

Darrell Todd Maurina

ST. ROBERT, Mo. (May 4, 2009) — Lyle Thomas, St. Robert’s director of public works, said at Monday night’s city council meeting that he’s applied for a MoDOT grant of federal stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to do sidewalk rehabilitation work or new construction. The St. Robert application for $101,000 would link the existing Missouri Avenue sidewalk to the Eastlawn and Phoenix area.

“They are very particular on the type of projects you can use this money for,” Thomas said. “It has to already be a relatively ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant area; it has to be relatively level. There can’t be any retaining walls, any new acquisition of right-of-way for the project.”

Thomas said he’s like to go further with the project past Phoenix but right-of-way acquisition would be required and that doesn’t qualify under the terms of the grant.

Responding to questions from aldermen, Thomas said a proposed pedestrian walkway over Interstate 44 is still in the planning stages and will cost about $680,000 and plans now call for having a sidewalk on the north side of St. Robert Boulevard rather than the south side, even though the placement of the Tourism Bureau property makes designing the project complicated.

Aldermen agreed that it doesn’t make much sense to put a sidewalk on the south side of St. Robert Boulevard since multiple pedestrian crossings would be required and many walkers who currently wear down pathways in the grass and damage landscaping on the north side of the road probably would continue to do so.

St. Robert Boulevard has other problems as well, according to Alderman Allan Johannsen.

“I’ve been almost hit a couple of times this past month over there were you turn in to go to Domino’s Pizza because people whip out there in the turn lane and they almost hit you head on,” Johannsen said.

The problem, he said, is that the painted traffic lanes on the road wear off and quickly become difficult to see.

Alderman Todd Williams asked if reflectors could be installed in the pavement.

Thomas said painted asphalt doesn’t hold up well under steel snowplow blades due to winter snow removal.

“That paint will not last more than a year,” Thomas said.

“Can’t we start painting it in the springtime then?” Johannsen asked. “We’ve got to do something over there because it’s dangerous over there. If you’re an outsider and not from around here, you’re all messed up over there.”

Alderman Ralph Cook said he didn’t understand why the paint won’t last more than a year.

“I can’t understand for the life of me how that paint comes off so fast. I understand the wintertime and scraping and all, but jeez — there are lines out on I-44 that have been there forever,” Cook said. “It is very bad out there, I agree, especially for somebody out of town trying to figure out where the lines are at.”

Thomas also said city crews are doing demonstration tests of a forestry cutter attachment to their Bobcat that could be used to turn trees into mulch on some of the city’s worst easements, and said May 16 will be the planned date to put refurbished playground equipment acquired from a MoDOT rest area into the Bosa Park playground. June 6 will be an alternate date in case of rain, he said, and an officer basic course at Fort Leonard Wood will make the playground equipment installation their community service project.

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