Shelby extension is $1 million closer

Saturday, August 1, 2015

By DONNA FARLEY

Staff Writer

The southern extension of Shelby Road is $1 million closer to meeting funding targets following action Thursday by officials to reallocate local transportation dollars.

The money comes from existing funds held by the Poplar Bluff Regional Transportation Development District, which met to elect new officers and approve finance matters.

The district did not need the full amount set aside to construct a loop road in the Eight Points development, on the east side of the Southern Bank location currently under construction at Shelby and Oak Grove Road, according to the board, now headed by Poplar Bluff city manager Mark Massingham.

The board voted to transfer the excess Eight Points money to the 2 1/2 mile extension of Shelby Road to Highway 53.

The southern extension is projected to cost nearly $10.5 million, but had only been funded at a little more than $6.6 million.

The district will need to pursue a second bond initiative to close the remaining $3 million gap, according to the board.

The TDD issued $33.6 million in bonds in 2012 to pay for improvements to Oak Grove Road, Shelby Road, an entrance to Three Rivers College, a loop road at Oak Grove Elementary and loop roads within the Eight Points retail area.

Extension of Shelby Road is the only remaining Phase 1 project to be fully funded.

New bond money would also be needed for Phase 2 projects, which include a new entrance from PP Highway to the current Poplar Bluff High School campus and improvements to the Maud and Business 67 intersection and Katy Lane.

"The district understands the Shelby Road extension is an important project and that bond issuance will have to occur," Massingham said. "It's looking at the best time in the market to do so and constantly in contact with advisers."

The district is continuing to acquire the property needed for the extension, which will cross Roxy Road and travel through the area behind Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The TDD board approved invoices paying for two sections of property purchased since its last meeting in February.

Almost $275,000 was paid to First Missouri Bank in March for four acres of permanent right of way and three acres of temporary right of way in the area of PP Highway, behind the Dental Arts facility.

Another approximately $552,000 was paid this month to Larry and Jan Rommel for five acres of permanent right of away and two acres of temporary right of way at 2846 Kanell Blvd., which is also called PP Highway.

Approximately $370,000 was spent in 2014 to acquire three other properties, two on Roxy Road and one on Kanell Boulevard, said Smith & Company engineer Billy Cobb.

The TDD is negotiating with three remaining property owners to acquire approximately 20 additional acres needed for the extension, Cobb said.

The TDD board also voted Thursday to pay a total of $904,312 to pay various costs, which include the bank and Rommel property purchase and other design and construction costs related to Phase 1 projects.

The board now consists of Massingham, Poplar Bluff Mayor Betty Absheer, Butler County Presiding Commissioner Vince Lampe and Dr. Ken McVey, a representative of the public.

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