The City of Hazelwood reopened Missouri Bottom Road on October 22, giving local residents access to a shortcut to St. Louis Outlet Mall, formerly known as St. Louis Mills, once again. A portion of the street between Tulip Tree Lane and Taussig Road had to be shut down on December 22, 2009, due to its poor condition which moved up the City’s timetable to start reconstruction on the same stretch of road.
The road will be open to all automobile traffic. However, no trucks in excess of 12,000 lbs. will be permitted. Drivers in violation of this city ordinance will be issued a citation and must appear in court.
The city already had plans to begin reconstruction of the road in the fall of 2010. But unforeseen problems resulting from the road’s poor overall condition and the hill’s instability on the western end accelerated the process. It was an old road and a lot of people had used it over the years.
“When it first happened, we noticed the hill had shifted a fair amount causing the pavement to buckle and break apart,” Hazelwood’s Director of Public Works/City Engineer David Stewart said. “Out of our concern for public safety, we made the decision to permanently close the road until repairs could be made.”
Federal funds provided $600,000 worth of matching grants used towards covering the $1.3 million in construction costs. As part of the evaluation process, time was spent testing the slope stability, deciding on the best course of action, and right-of-way acquisitions.
In January 2010, the Hazelwood City Council approved $141,000 for a contract with EDM Incorporated to do a preliminary study on the road. After the problems were identified, Berra Construction was hired to fix them and do the reconstruction project. This involved installing a drainage system throughout the hillside to make it more stable. The construction crews also removed the existing roadway and poured concrete for the new pavement, which included widening and sub-grading the lanes as well as adding pavement lugs to prevent street creep. Other features such as guard rails, retaining walls, and sidewalks for pedestrian use were added for safety purposes.
Over the past couple of months, Berra Construction has been working on these final improvements in order to get the road ready for opening on October 22: pouring the remaining segments of sidewalk; installing safety fencing on top of three retaining walls; installing guard rails; adding street signage; pavement striping; and seeding and placing sod on the remaining areas of the project.
“The city’s reconstruction project of Missouri Bottom Road has made it a much nicer, safer and scenic two-lane drive from Tulip Tree Lane to Taussig Road which passes in front of Hazelwood West Middle School. The panoramic view of St. Louis Outlet Mall and Park 370 is breath-taking, and the guard rails added around the curve provide an extra layer of protection for motorists,” Hazelwood Mayor Matthew Robinson said. “It was a good use of taxpayers’ money which reaped bountiful returns on our investment for the community.”
Mayor Robinson goes on to say that many residents are very excited about the opening of Missouri Bottom Road. Some of them may find themselves having to adjust back to traffic conditions they haven’t experienced since the closing in 2009.