The City of Olivette and Volz Engineering held an informational meeting at the Community Center Wednesday night in order to lay out the particulars of the Old Bonhomme Road rebuild project commencing sometime next summer.
The 2 mile arterial road, stretching from the city limits of University City to Olive Boulevard will be reconstructed for $2.4 million dollars. Two million comes in the form of a federal grant and Olivette will make up the difference.
Some 100 homes and two schools (Logos and Old Bonhomme) front onto the roadway. The project is calling for 5-foot sidewalks to replace broken ones, two and three feet wide, or in some cases, where sidewalks don’t exist at all.
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City Engineer Michael Gartenberg led the discussion. A typical array of questions came from the 50 or so residents who either live on Old Bonhomme or in subdivisions nearby.
- What happens to the stately trees in the right of way
- Will there be a bike lane
- What structural differences will be seen
- What happens to mail boxes and shrubbery planted in the right of way
The city addressed those issues.
Long-time resident Isaac Young took issue with the demolition of trees. “I don’t want this (project) to end up looking like an urban shopping center. We have always wanted to preserve the natural beauty of the community,” he said.
Gartenberg stated that with the federal grant comes the stipulation that five-foot sidewalks are a requirement. Some took issue, pressing to find out if these options can be waived.
About the taking of right-of-way: City Manager Mike McDowell was specific that any land taken had to be purchased from homeowners at fair market value. He did say, however, “People are free to donate their land if they want to do so.”
There were questions of timing and start date. All of the surveying work is already complete.
“We could start anytime. Weather is not a factor. We can pour concrete during the winter months,” said Gartenberg.
It was noted that the road will be rebuilt in stages. At no time would the street be closed to vehicular traffic in both directions at the same time.
The big difference maker will be the replacement of curbs and guttering. Engineers have determined vertical curbs would replace curved or “S” ones. The new gutters would be safer for pedestrian traffic on sidewalks, offering minimal protection from cars leaving the road.
The sidewalks in Olivette have proved to be popular with walkers, joggers and bike riders, especially school-aged children.
However the road will not be widened to add a biking lane. The road will measure much the same, 11 foot on either side of the center line.
Information will be available on the city’s website.
Read more about previous rebuild articles.