COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Columbia Public Works held a meeting on Thursday for the Forum Boulevard project to show the community what the proposed improvements would look like.
The meeting took place at Forum Christian Church on 3900 Forum Boulevard. The open-house style meeting included a walk-through presentation of the project and developments as well as video footage from a traffic study.
The proposed improvements include adding a driving lane heading in both directions, sidewalks and a bike lane on both sides of the roads and either fix or replace the bridge over Hinkson Creek.
Some intersections and entrances will also be upgraded to improve traffic safety at the corridor.
The city began planning design work for the Forum Boulevard project late last year. In November 2022, cameras were set up on stoplights to study traffic flow. What they found: Backups at businesses and side streets, cars having to wait nearly three minutes to make a right-hand turn, and congestion at intersections.
The city is proposing adding one lane going in each direction to the corridor which will match the four-lane section heading north and south. On top of adding two new lanes the project will also be implementing intersection upgrades at several locations.
New roundabouts were proposed on Katy Lane and Woodrail Avenue to help control traffic.
The city has also proposed adding an additional lane at Chapel Hill to allow for left turns for eastbound traffic along with also creating pedestrian refuge islands.
Allison Anderson, an engineer with the city, says one of the biggest challenges of the project design so far has been fitting everything into the corridor because it is already developed and they also have to worry about private property as well as the parks and rec property
Comments regarding the projects will be accepted until Friday, Dec. 15. The city says these changes will help with safety, enhance the corridor and project traffic growth for the next two decades.
The city partnered with Engineering Surveys and Services to plan and design the project. The total budget for the project is about $12.3 million.
Those funds came from the quarter-cent sales tax proposal back in August 2015, which left funding for capital improvement projects.
Construction of the improvements are expected to begin by the summer of 2026.