Traffic slows on Main Street during road construction

The Maryville City Council approved its annual asphalt overlay project at Monday night's meeting. Shown is the 2020 asphalt mill and overlay of South Main Street from Halsey Street to the Lincoln Street curve.

MARYVILLE, Mo. — The initial bids for the South Main Corridor Improvement Project came in over budget, leaving city officials to mull over how to address an approximately $3 million gap.

At the Maryville City Council meeting on Monday, City Manager Greg McDanel said that the low bid for the massive infrastructure overhaul came in at $14.7 million, with two others checking in at $15.5 million and $17.5 million. SK Design Group, a contractor engaged to provide engineering estimates on the cost of the project, had estimated the cost at a little more than $12 million.

But that was before a global pandemic.

“We’ve looked through those bids along with our engineers and attribute that mostly to the volatility of the market associated with COVID-19,” McDanel said. “There’s a lot of concrete, asphalt, as well as PVC pipe.”

McDanel noted that PVC pipes in particular have seen soaring prices over the past year because of tariffs and global plastic resin shortages — including polyvinyl chloride, usually abbreviated to PVC — due to COVID-19 slowdowns. Not helping matters was the unexpected power outages in Texas during last month’s winter storm, which disrupted some of the country’s largest PVC manufacturers.

Of the about $15-17 million the project is now estimated to cost, the city had already secured about $10.5 million through a federal BUILD grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded in 2018. The city had also budgeted $2.6 million of its own to add in.

“So there’s approximately a $3 million project gap that the city is working on right now,” McDanel said. “Staff is meeting in a critical nature with the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to look at all of our options at this point. These options may include additional funding sources, delayed re-bidding procedures or changes in the project scope.

“Once those options are fully vetted by USDOT, the Federal Highway Administration and MoDOT, staff will present those to the City Council for further consideration.”

The project would transform 1½ miles of South Main Street at the entrance to the city, including realigned access points to and from businesses along the corridor, moving overhead power lines underground, the additions of new landscaping and lighting features, wayfinding signage, an enclosed sewer system, an 8-foot bicycle/pedestrian path on the west side and a 5-foot sidewalk on the east side.

City officials have already spent years planning the colossal undertaking, including the complicated process that resulted in the city winning the federal grant against applicants from across the country, and then coordinating the pre-construction process among state and federal agencies, contractors and the many local and non-local property owners along the stretch.

“I do remain hopeful … and optimistic that we will have a project in front of you shortly that will satisfy our original intent for the South Main corridor,” McDanel told the council.

Road repairs

The City Council rung in the start of spring with the surest sign of warming weather: road work. The council approved its annual asphalt mill and overlay project on Monday totaling more than a quarter of a million dollars to improve streets in particularly poor condition.

The project will address the following areas:

  • North Main Street from First to Fourth streets
  • West Cooper Street from Alco Avenue to Vista Lane
  • South Vine Street from First to Edwards streets
  • North Charles Street from First to Second streets
  • North College Drive from 16th Street to University Drive (city to install curb)
  • North Walnut Street from First to Fifth streets
  • Thomson Splash ‘N’ Play parking lot (4-inch overlay)

The overlays on North Walnut Street and of the Splash ‘N’ Play parking lot were included as alternates to the base bid package, and were ultimately included in the final approval by the council at the recommendation of city staff.

McDanel said that Walnut Street, however, will require more attention down the road due to inadequate drainage, storm inlets and curbing.

“As we know, Walnut Street is in poor condition,” McDanel said at Monday’s meeting. “It is an ongoing drainage issue. We have had two engineering firms out looking at that section — essentially Walnut Street from First to Prather. They are going to provide us a preliminary engineering report and a quote for their services for the City Council to look at a long-term, permanent fix.”

He called the asphalt overlay a “temporary solution,” but one that was worth doing in the interim until a permanent solution is ready. Quotes from the two firms are expected within the next 30 days.

The base overlay projects were budgeted at $200,000, but with the alternate additions of Walnut Street and the Splash ‘N’ Play — which McDanel reiterated he hopes to see open by sometime in May — the bid totals were north of $250,000.

The excess will be taken out of the $80,000 earmarked in the budget for downtown traffic signal replacement that would replace the temporary wires holding up the traffic lights at Third and Main and Fourth and Main with permanent mast arms. McDanel said bids for that project came back significantly higher than the engineer’s estimate, and staff is analyzing next steps. However, McDanel told council member Tye Parsons, who asked if the project is going to be pushed to the next fiscal year, that he still hopes to find a way to complete the traffic signal replacements this year.

The council approved a contract with Keller Construction of up to $252,013.75 for the asphalt mill and overlay project.

Other City Council notes

  • Council members approved a five-year contract renewal with PeopleService to run the daily operations of the water and sewer treatment plants at a rate of $763,440 annually plus annual adjustments tied to the consumer price index. The city has contracted with PeopleService for that purpose since 2006.
  • McDanel said the city is set to receive $2.1 million from the federal American Rescue Plan, and is working with legal counsel to determine exactly what costs may be eligible.
  • The council approved a contract with HDR Engineering of up to $34,550 to develop a comprehensive lake and watershed monitoring program that will help better determine sources of nutrient pollution and track the overall condition of Mozingo Lake and its surrounding watershed.
  • Assistant City Manager Ryan Heiland announced the hiring of Justin Miller as the new Mozingo Lake Recreation Park director. Miller is currently the supervisor of the Maryville Community Center. Maryville Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Stubblefield said that Maggie Rockwood, aquatics and events supervisor at MPR, will take over at the community center in the interim.
  • The council approved the appointment of Bryan Dulin and the re-appointment of MPR Director Stubblefield to the Maryville Tourism Committee. Both will serve three-year terms.
  • The council approved an agreement for the city to join the Missouri Water/Wastewater Agency Response Networks (MoWARN), a voluntary network that provides expedited access to specialized resources needed to respond to and recover from natural and human caused events that disrupt public and private drinking water and wastewater utilities.
  • The council accepted a bid from Fast Farms for $24,564 to harvest hay from an 89-acre parcel on airport grounds over the next three years.
  • The council accepted a bid from Brian McGary for $1,700 to harvest hay from a parcel in Mozingo Lake Recreation Park over the next two years.