Saturday, July 30, 2011

Construction activity in high gear

If you have done any traveling along the Kingshighway/I-44 overpass (Exit 184) or on State Highway 63 North, you may have noticed that there is quite a bit of construction, excavation, earth moving and site preparation going on these days in Rolla.
The earth moving, grading, and site preparation on Highway 63 North next to Lowe’s is of course, the location of the future 56,000-square-foot Kohl’s Department Store that is scheduled for completion in March 2012. The construction and earth moving at the Kingshighway/I-44 overpass at Martin Springs Drive and Old Wire Road is in preparation for two new round-abouts that are being constructed by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). The expansive area of land that is also being cleared just off Interstate 44 at the Kingshighway/Old Wire Road intersection (Exit 184) is being readied for future retail development. Fortunately, much of the excess rock and dirt cleared for that area is being hauled and relocated just yards away across Old Wire Outer Road for the construction of the north round-about. 
While the grading and earth moving activity on State Route 63 north is not impacting traffic flow or posing any traffic delays in that area of town, the construction work currently underway at the site off Old Wire Outer Road and Kingshighway and the dual round-abouts, are posing traffic delays for motorists using the Kingshighway/I-44 overpass and Old Wire Outer Road. While the City understands that this construction work does cause some inconvenience and temporary traffic delays, we ask for your continued patience and cooperation while these important projects are under construction. When completed, the dual round-abouts will help improve not only traffic flow and circulation, but also safety. Much like the round-about located at the University Drive/I-44 Overpass, these new dual round-abouts will allow motorists to move continuously through the intersection, saving both time and gas as the need for stopping for a traffic light is eliminated. A fourth round-about is scheduled to be constructed by the Public Works Department at the intersection of Forum and 18th Street sometime in early August
Other road related work that is also currently being done in Rolla is the micro-surfacing of several city streets. Donelson Construction Company, LLC continues to apply asphalt micro-surfacing to several city streets south of 10th Street to Missouri Highway 72, and east of Forum Drive and Pinetree Road. Micro-surfacing (1/4-inch of asphalt) is an economical alternative to hot asphalt mix overlays, which typically applies a minimum of two inches of pavement resurfacing. This entire project is currently projected to be completed by Monday, Aug. 1, including the last phase, which includes the Johnson/Laird subdivision. The City of Rolla’s Public Works Department, which is overseeing the micro-paving project, asks for the public’s patience, cooperation and caution as this project is completed.  A complete list of streets that were scheduled for micro-surfacing and a detailed map, are posted on the City of Rolla’s Website at For regular updates on road closures and construction schedules, please contact the Public Works Department at 364-8659 or visit
Looking towards next weekend, as we get closer to the start of a new school year, the State “Back to School Sales Tax Holiday” falls between Friday, Aug. 5 and Sunday, Aug. 7. As stated in the ordinance to ‘opt in’ the sales tax holiday (City tax savings of 2.5% and State tax savings of 4.225%)  is intended to provide tax relief to families with children attending school by exempting the sales tax on clothing, personal computers, certain computer software, and school supplies. The sale officially begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 5, and ends at midnight on Sunday, Aug. 7. The Back to School Sales Tax Holiday was first established in 2004 by the Missouri State Legislature when the legislature passed Senate Bill 11.
In closing, I’d like to mention how much I appreciate the work being done by all of our City employees who have had to endure the excessive heat and humidity over the past few weeks. The Street crews have worked non-stop outdoors in 110-degree-plus heat indexes installing several yards of new storm drain pipe and storm drain inlets along Forum Drive; the Sanitation Department members have been picking up trash and recyclables every day; the Rolla Police Department and Fire and Rescue have been going to emergency calls outdoors (in heavy, warm uniforms), the Parks and Recreation Department members have been out mowing lawns, landscaping and keeping our parks looking beautiful, and our traffic engineering crews have been striping roads and parking lots. If you happen to see a City employee out in the community working in this oppressive heat, you may want to wave to them, give them a thumbs up, or maybe even stop and tell them how much they are appreciated. We are truly fortunate to have such hard working, dedicated employees who provide an array of valuable services for our residents and community.
On a final note, please be cautious of the extreme heat in the days and weeks to come, stay hydrated, use sun screen, refrain from strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day, and feel free to stop by any of the cooling centers in town, including The Centre (1200 N. Holloway), Rolla City Hall (901 N. Elm Street), and Rolla Public Library (900 North Pine Street). Please also be sure to check on your neighbors who are elderly, refrain from leaving your children or pets in cars unattended, and provide plenty of water and shade for outdoor pets. Have a safe week!

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