City moving closer to street improvements

Ray Scherer


Hermann city officials continue their preparations for the launch of significant street renovations later on in the summer.


The work is the product of voter passage of the streets initiative in August 2019. Hermann City Administrator Mark Wallace told the Advertiser-Courier that West 18th Street represents the first leg of the project.


Street Foreman Todd Lensing said the COVID-19 pandemic is causing some uncertainty with the project, at least after the 18th Street work is finalized. Wallace said the unknown factor stems from an inability to pinpoint just how much revenue the city will realize from onset of the street tax collections -- which began flowing in January -- given the coronavirus's impact.


Lensing explained some background to the improvements.


"People understand what a new street looks like," he said, adding the residents may not fully comprehend all the conditions needed in order for the work to finish. "People have waited long enough."


For instance, preparation of infrastructure -- namely, municipal utilities such as water -- must first be handled ahead of the resurfacing. To that end, officials said the water department has been assisting with such endeavors as resetting mains in the streets.


A three- to four-inch black asphalt overlay is planned for 18th Street, accompanied by new storm drains. New water, electric, and natural gas lines are being included.


Wallace said bids for the 18th Street portion of the program are due July 15. All told, the scope for the first block features curb and gutter, storm water piping, and concrete. The particular area receiving attention at first will 18th, from Jefferson Street to Highway 100.


"That's a highly used road, because of Pretium," said Wallace, noting the facility's use of heavy trucks, along with the importance of the street to Hermann Area District Hospital, City Hall, and other entities in the vicinity. Normal traffic patterns will be disrupted on occasion, with trucks re-rerouted onto Frene Drive -- which will also be repaved due to the new and temporary flow of heavy traffic. An estimated $329.000 pricetag has been affixed to the work.


The Hermann Board of Aldermen will receive an engineer's recommendation on the bids on July 27, followed by a notice to proceed. It's hoped the repaving can begin sometime in August, taking 1 1/2 to two months to complete, pending favorable weather. Lensing said the period from April to October is the best for spreading hot mix onto a street.


He has some special advice for motorists as the work gets under way.


"Just be patient," said Lensing, noting that the use of alternate routes to destinations is encouraged. "We want to do it right."


The city has a priority list of which streets will receive an overlay from the tax. Water line replacement on Seventh Street is ongoing in advance of work there that will include new curbing and gutters. Some of the streets will see improvements to a block or two of their length. What isn't completed this year will be put on the schedule for 2021.


Archer-Elgin in Rolla is the engineer and will handle the bid process for the aldermen. A contractor -- which may choose to hire various subcontractors -- will be selected later.