City officials are working toward installing traffic signals at a busy south Carthage intersection, but federal and state red tape means the project won't likely get done until early 2014 at the earliest.
Traffic signals are planned for the intersection of Hazel Avenue and Fir Road just east of the Fir Road interchange with I-49.
Carthage City Administrator Tom Short told the Council’s Public Works Committee that signals have been needed at the intersection for some time, and the city hopes to receive federal money to fund 80 percent of the more-than-$300,000 project.
Short said the project also includes widening Fir Road to three lanes between the I-49 interchange and the Route Zero Three restaurant entrance just east of the interchange.
“It's definitely needed there,” Short said. Anybody who goes out there and tries to make a left turn or if you've gone over the bridge, they know it's needed.”
The Carthage City Council's Public Works Committee took the first steps last week on the project by recommending that the full council approve a contract with the Missouri Department of Transportation to accept Surface Transportation Programming, or STP, funds for the project.
A council bill will come before the council at its next meeting today for first reading on the contract.
The STP provides 80 percent of the funds for a project with a local match of 20 percent.
Short said going through the STP process means it will likely be at least nine months before construction begins.
“We have to solicit proposals for engineering services and there's a process you have to go through to do that,” Short said. “The city has to approve an agreement with MoDOT and hopefully we'll have the first reading of that ordinance at the next meeting. Then at the same time we'll advertise for proposals for engineering firms and they'll design it. Then we'll bid out the project, award the bid and do the contract for the construction. Start the construction. We're looking at a little bit of time here, probably nine months.”
Short a planned development on the south side of Fir Road, known as the Peachtree Development, was created several years and the owner at the time contracted with the state to create a Community Improvement District, or CID, to collect a one-cent sales tax to develop the area.
Short said the Peachtree CID will reimburse the city the entire cost of the traffic signal, allowing the city to use the 80 percent it of the cost it receives from the federal government on other projects.
“As other business go in there, they still have to collect that one percent tax so it's one of those deals where as the area grows, they'll get more money and we'll get reimbursed on our project costs,” Short said. “It's to our benefit to help make improvements to that area so that whole area can grow.”
Page 2 of 2 - The limit on the federal reimbursement set in the current contract is $234,420, although Short said that amount can be increased if the cost goes over estimates and STP money is still available.