The City of Rolla will share a portion of awarded grant funds with two other cities in Missouri for sidewalk improvements.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) approved the enhancement grant funds totaling $935,595 Dec. 18 for the cities of Rolla, Vienna and Potosi.

After hearing presentations from the three cities on Dec. 13, the Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) evaluated and ranked three applications for the grants, which were sent to MoDOT.

The TAC ranked the City of Rolla’s project third. Rolla requested $487,015, and was approved that same amount.

According to Rolla Public Works Department employee Anne McClay, the grant will be used to begin a five-year plan to replace more than 1,000 handicapped sidewalk ramps throughout the city that are not currently compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“If we were to try to do this using only city funds, we estimate that it would take 20 to 25 years to replace all of these ramps,” McClay said.

The top-ranking project among TAC members was Vienna’s project, which would add sidewalks and ADA-compliant parking at the city’s ballpark. Vienna’s request of $315,370 was approved.

Vienna Mayor Jamie Jones explained that the added sidewalks, which will adjoin a new walking trail being built, and parking would make the park more accessible while also adding safety for park patrons.

The City of Potosi’s project, which ranked second, was approved for $133,210, the same as the requested amount. The project there would tie in with the city’s work to make it a “more walkable community,” including the residential area.

There were 16 enhancement grant applications submitted from the 18-county MoDOT Central District, totaling $4.9 million.

The Central District had $3,117,000 to award and 11 projects were selected by the Central District enhancement team, which consists of MoDOT District Engineer Dave Silvester, MoDOT staff members Dion Knipp and Jenni Jones along with representation from the two metropolitan planning organizations and the three regional planning commissions in the Central District. Executive Director Bonnie Prigge represented MRPC on the evaluation team.

In other business

Also at the Dec. 13 meeting, the TAC:

Approved the transportation goals portion of the Meramec region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

Approved the needs and strategies portion of the updated version of the Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan for the Meramec region.

Heard a construction update on projects throughout the region from MoDOT Central District Engineer Preston Kramer.

Discussed potential changes to the Bridge Replacement Off-System (BRO) program where MoDOT would pool the funds at the regional level with the TAC selecting BRO projects in order to spend federal dollars more quickly. MoDOT currently allocates funds to the counties for bridge selection, and counties in the Meramec Region prefer to continue this process.