The Rolla City Council held the first reading of an ordinance to award a bid and enter into a contract for the construction of a new concrete roundabout at the intersection of McCutchen Drive and St. Maria's Street that led to one council member questioning the justification for the McCutchen roundabout, since the city has not completed the 18th St. connection.

The city's project will provide a new concrete roundabout at the intersection of McCutchen Drive and St. Maria’s Street, new curb and gutter from 400 feet south of California Drive to Liberty Drive in addition to sidewalk work, Rolla Public Works Engineer Darin Pryor said at the April 1 Rolla City Council meeting.


The McCutchen roundabout will be similar to the roundabout at Forum Drive, except the roundabout will have a concrete center and the pavement will extend  to all four lanes away from the roundabout for a short distance, Pryor said, for maintenance reasons due to difficulty working inside the roundabout.


“We are going to do concrete pavement to the end of the islands essentially,” Pryor said.


The City had a figure of $300,000 budgeted for the project, and the bid recommended by city staff came from Lehman Construction, LLC for the amount of $205,706.


Pryor noted that the bid came in lower than what the city had budgeted, and that Lehman Construction carried out the construction for the Highway 72 extension that came in under budget as well, after the bid amount was called into question by city council member, Steven Jung.


“They are confident in their numbers; they wanted this project. It's a unit bid-price project so they will only get paid for what they put in,” Pryor said.


After Pryor recommended the city council award the bid to the low bidder, Lehman Construction, Rolla City Council member Jim Williams questioned the rationale behind constructing a roundabout at the intersection of McCutchen Drive and St Maria’s Street.


“There isn’t enough traffic up there to justify a roundabout. You don’t have a completion of 18th St. running up there to it. I feel like this is throwing good money away,” Williams said.


Rolla City Administrator John Butz addressed the matter, and said the city wanted to complete construction of the roundabout before future development of the McCutchen area and the city has the right-of-way for it as part of the project.


“You are right it doesn’t make sense to do this without the 18th St. connection, but someday that 18th St. connection is going to go through there,” Butz said. “Ultimately it’s going to be needed when that 40 acre tract in between there develops, when that happens we don’t know, but to try to go back to it and build that roundabout after the fact is going to be a real problem.”


Williams questioned how certain the city was that there would be an 18th St. connection to the roundabout in the future and Butz stated that the 18th St. extension has to be built before any development on the 40 acre tract of R-1 land.


“There is going to be an opportunity to do something there. That is a big piece of property that someday will develop, and we wanted to get the improvements done prior to that. Before anything else can happen on that property they have to build that extension,” Butz said.


Pryor added that roughly half of the cost associated with the bid is for the roundabout, while the other half is for curb and gutter and sidewalk work, the city, would carry out without the construction of the McCutchen roundabout.


Rolla City Council member Matthew Crowell added that he spoke to a lot of the residents in Liberty Heights that would be affected by the new roundabout and a lot of residents mentioned the future development in the area but not a lot of residents referred to the roundabout.


Residents that did mention the roundabout were not in favor of it, and no one spoke in support of it, Crowell noted.


“I’ve realized how much quicker traffic goes and how much safer it is. And having walked on McCutchen, the stretch that you are planning on putting in a sidewalk, I think is an amazing idea because it is a dangerous area,” Crowell said. “I think a roundabout will help slow down the traffic even if we don’t have 18th St. in at this point, I think it will be safer, and even though there is some opposition and people don’t generally like roundabouts, I think I’m in favor of it."


After the Rolla City Council concluded the first reading for the motion to award the bid to Lehman Construction for the McCutchen roundabout, Project No. 479, for $205,706, and the first reading to enter into the contract with Lehman Construction for the McCutchen roundabout, the council, held the first reading of an ordinance to award a bid and enter into a contract for 2019 Phase III Asphalt Improvements.

The 2019 Phase III Asphalt Improvements include the overlay of McCutchen Drive up to the roundabout, Pryor said.


The city received bids for Project No. 490 that will overlay McCutchen Drive from 400 feet South of California Drive to Liberty Drive, Sally Road from Old Wire Road to Westside Drive and 18th St. from Sharp Road to Old St. James Road.


Pryor said the Move Rolla Transportation Development board had agreed to pay $27,000 of the Sally Road overlay portion of the project, and said staff recommended awarding the bid to the low bidder, Capital Paving & Construction, LLC for $183,190.


The city had a budgeted figure of $210,000 for the project, and the council concluded the first reading of the motion to award the bid to Capital Paving & Construction along with the first reading of an ordinance to enter into the contract for the 2019 Phase III Asphalt project with Capital Paving & Construction.