For the first time in about four years, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission held one of their meetings in Rolla and while here, the board approved an approximate $700 million Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) that outlines transportation projects across Missouri for the next five years.
The commission met Tuesday at Rolla City Hall. The commission normally meets in Jefferson City, but seven months out of the year, the board holds their meetings in various cities throughout the state.
The last time the commission met in Rolla was June 3, 2009, on the Missouri University of Science and Technology campus.
During Tuesday's meeting, there was little discussion by commissioners before they approved the 2014-18 (July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2018 final STIP that lists all transportation projects planned by state, metropolitan and regional planning agencies.
"Projects listed in the STIP represent our commitments to the state of Missouri, and the STIP puts them on a schedule for completion," said Dave Nichols, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).
Machelle Watkins, transportation planning director with MoDOT, gave a brief overview of the STIP at the meeting and said about 80 percent of the projects in the STIP are "taking care of what we have" because of a reduction in transportation funding.
"Roadway resurfacing, preventative maintenance and rehabilitation projects make up the majority of the $700 million program," said Nichols. "This is the kind of work that will maintain the existing transportation system for a while, but it won't last forever."
Nichols said MoDOT is "dependent on fuel taxes as a revenue source, and that resource is dwindling as cars get more fuel efficient and people drive less as a result of high gas prices."
According to Watkins, the five-year STIP is fully programmed for the first three years and 50 percent is programmed for the last two years.
The STIP actually totals $694 million in highway and bridge construction, Watkins said. There is also $167 million for local programs to cities and counties and $163 million in multi-modal programs.
Of the $163 million for multi-modal programs, $95 million is for transit, $33 million is for aviation, $32 million is for railway, which is up from last year, and $3 million for waterways. However, it was noted that the $3 million for waterway projects is part of Gov. Jay Nixon's budget restrictions.
A draft version of the 2014-18 STIP was released May 1 and Watkins said there were 55 minor changes and 17 major changes to the program in its final version.
The vote to approve the STIP was unanimous by the five board members present — Chairman Joe Carmichael, Vice Chair Stephen Miller, Kenneth Suelthaus, Kelley Martin and Gregg Smith. A sixth seat on the board is currently vacant.
Carmichael said once a project is in the STIP, the commissioners and MoDOT officials track it closely.
Page 2 of 3 - Phelps County projects
The approved STIP projects listed in Phelps County on the highway and bridge construction schedule are as follows:
• Pavement and drainage improvements along 0.17 miles of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 44 in Rolla, total estimated cost of $542,000, contract expected to be awarded in the fall of 2013;
• Safety improvements along 1.39 miles of the eastbound lanes of I-44 near State Routes J and V, total estimated cost of $313,000, with $50,000 in LIFE funds going toward this project; contract expected to be awarded in the winter of 2014;
•Pavement improvements along 8.34 miles of the eastbound and westbound lanes of I-44 from one mile east of Route D to 1.2 miles east of Route F in Crawford County, total estimated cost of $11,903,000, contract expected to be awarded in 2016;
•Pavement improvements of U.S. Route 63 from 0.7 miles south of Route CC in Phelps County to Route CC in Texas County, total estimated cost of $6,543,000, contract expected to be awarded in 2016;
• ADA improvements along Route 63 in Rolla as well as related work in Camdenton and Fayette, total estimated cost of $796,000, with $585,000 in statewide enhancement funds going toward this project, contract expected to be awarded in the spring of 2014;
• Pavement and shoulder improvements along 2.51 miles of State Route 8 from west of State Route 68 to near Crawford County, total estimated cost of $1,111,000, contract expected to be awarded in 2016;
• Pavement improvements along Route 8 for 2.04 miles near St. James from 0.2 miles west of Asher Creek to one mile east of the Meramec River in Crawford County, total estimated cost of $474,000, contract expected to be awarded in 2016;
•Bridge improvements on Route 8 over the Dry Fork Creek for 0.07 miles near St. James, total estimated cost of $1,597,000, contract expected to be awarded in the spring of 2014;
•Grading, paving and curve improvements along Route D for 0.2 miles near the BNSF railroad line, total estimated cost of $1,385,000, contract expected to be awarded in the spring of 2014;
• Bridge improvements over the BNSF railroad line near Jerome for 0.03 miles, total estimated cost of $794,000, contract expected to be awarded the spring of 2014; and
• Preventative maintenance on State Route O from Route 72 to Route C in Dent County, including Routes F and H in Crawford County, Route P in Dent County, Route C in Dent and Texas counties and Routes C, K, M, P and V in Phelps County; total estimated cost of $2,152,000, contract expected to be awarded in the fall of 2013.
There is also a project in the approved STIP for job order contracting for asphalt (totaling $380,000) and concrete (totaling $166,000) pavement repair work on I-44 in Laclede, Pulaski, Phelps and Crawford counties. Contracts for this work are expected to be awarded in the spring of 2014.
The STIP also includes four scoping projects for Phelps County, which means that there is no money available now to move forward with construction, right-of-way acquisition or utility relocation, but that design work for the projects can proceed over the next five years.
Page 3 of 3 - The following scoping projects in Phelps County listed in the STIP are as follows:
• Pavement improvements on the eastbound lanes of I-44 from Route 68 at St. James to 1.2 miles east of State Route F
•Bridge improvements on Route B over the Bourbeuse River near the Gasconade County line;
•Low-water crossing improvements on Route C 5.4 miles north of I-44; and
•Culvert replacement on Route C 4.1 miles north of I-44.