Sunday, October 9, 2011

Forum Drive Construction nears end

The beautiful, balmy fall weather we continue to have in the Meramec Valley Region seems to be making up for the exceedingly hot summer we experienced not too long ago.
And the beautiful weather is just what is needed for all the outdoor festivals and events that will be going on during the month of October.
The weather is also helpful for the City’s Street Department that has been working all summer long on the infrastructure and street upgrades on Forum Drive between 18th Street and 10th Street. This section of Forum Drive from top to bottom is being rebuilt, including storm sewer, water, sidewalks, curb and gutter, and even electrical lines. You might say it is receiving a 100-year overhaul, because of the size and scope of the project. That said I do continue to sympathize with the many of the homeowners residing along Forum Drive and in the adjacent Forum Hills subdivision who have been impacted by the inconvenience this construction work has brought. One of the most challenging aspects is Forum Drive has remained opened while construction has been ongoing, including the new roundabout at Forum and 18th Street. The same can also be said about the two new roundabouts and on/off ramps being constructed by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) at the I-44/ Kingshighway interchange, where the area remains open to thru traffic.
While we are on the topic of roundabouts, and the fact that three are being built at this time in Rolla, I thought I would give a brief overview of how traffic flows on a roundabout. The important thing to remember is once you are in the main flow or traffic pattern of a roundabout you basically have the right-of-way, and anyone who is trying to enter the roundabout, (where yield signs are posted), needs to yield to traffic. A roundabout is a little like a stream that continues to flow in a circular motion with cars and trucks entering and exiting at various points along the way, hopefully in a cautious and considerate manner. It seems the more you use a roundabout and experience the advantages of not having to wait for a traffic signal, the more you begin to appreciate the advantages of using them. In addition to providing a better and more efficient traffic flow, it’s a proven fact there are considerably fewer accidents at roundabouts (especially serious accidents). Another advantage of roundabouts is there are no traffic lights that have to be maintained or paid for – saving the city and tax payers thousands every year. Many cities such as Columbia and Jefferson City, of course have been using roundabouts for many years, and have seen the advantages they provide, including economic development advantages.
Traveling and navigating around the three roundabouts that are currently under construction is made twice as difficult due to the construction activity, so please realize once they are complete, it will be much easier to navigate and maneuver your vehicles around the roundabouts. I guess that’s a roundabout way of saying please continue to be patient, look for detours/flag persons, drive cautiously, and be assured the roundabouts will be worth the wait in the long run.
The work along Forum Drive, including the completion of the roundabout at 18th and Forum and the asphalt overlay should be completed by Oct. 14, weather permitting. The two new roundabouts and on/off ramps at the I-44/Kingshighway Interchange being constructed by the Missouri Department of Transportation, should be done by the end of December.
In closing I’d like to thank everyone who attended the Gene Sally Parkway Dedication ceremony on Friday, Sept. 30. Several of Mr. Sally’s family members, close friends and acquaintances traveled long distances to attend this ceremony, and it was a most fitting tribute to Mr. Sally who has contributed so much to the development of Rolla – especially on the east side of the city. The Gene Sally Parkway reminds us not to forget those like Mr. Sally who have given so much. Mr. Sally’s license plate reads: RollaMo1, which tells you that although he now resides in Rancho Mirage, California, his heart and mind is in Rolla, Missouri where he more than made his mark. Thank you again Mr. Sally for all you have done to make Rolla a better place to live, work and play.
Special thanks also goes out to the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce and Chamber Ambassadors for coordinating the ribbon cutting ceremony; and Steve Hargis, Public Works Director; Anne McClay, Project Coordinator; Gary Drew, Senior Traffic Technician and Kyle Pinkston, Traffic Technician, who designed and manufactured the Gene Sally Parkway signs.    
Enjoy the beautiful fall weather and have a safe week!

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