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by Mark Cheffey
The W. Main Cross Street bridge construction closure and its affect on traffic patterns now and in the future was a main topic of discussion during last Thursday’s Palmyra City Council meeting.
The project could force motorists to use alternate routes until October, which means it will affect traffic in and out of the Marion County Fair, the city’s biggest draw of out of town visitors, for an entire week in late July and early August.
“It will be problematic,” said Police Chief Eddie Bogue, making special note of the big arena events at the fair, which will present traffic control challenges.
He said Main Cross is probably the top route of choice for those coming to Palmyra for the fair, and specific detour routes will be needed, something his staff has been working on of late.
“I think we have a good plan set up,” he told the council, noting that utilizing the street department’s detour signs would help in redirecting traffic.
“And, traffic coming in is not going to be as bad as coming out,” he said, indicating that inbound traffic is more spread out over time than that leaving the fair.
Mayor Rusty Adrian welcomed the police department’s planning efforts and agreed that redirecting traffic would be of help.
“Detour signs will come in handy,” he said, adding the street department might want to purchase more signs for the fair that could also be used for future storm water drainage projects.
It was also recommended that Bogue reach out to organizations involved with fair events about the traffic situation.
Council member Pam Behring said she had been asked if the closure would truly last into October.
And while Street Commissioner Austin Dornberger said there appears to be good early progress on the project, he did not discount the possibility the closure will last into fall.
“It very well could take until October,” he said of the project which also involves the nearby Bradley Street bridge.
He said there could be a chance for Main Cross to be opened earlier.
“But I’m not going to make any promises,” he said.
BPW Superintendent Brent Abell said the board had approved a second payment totaling more than $68,000 for ongoing work in replacing the aeration system at the city’s sewage treatment plant, and indicated the project is about 90 percent complete.
“The project is nearing the end,” he said.
The project is of importance since half of the plant’s old system had broken down last year.
Abell also reported the $6,000 purchase of three used transformers from the Northeast Missouri Electrical Cooperative which had planned to scrap the trio.
Abell said the city will use the transformers in emergency situations.
“We thank them for that,” Abell said of NEMO Power’s offer to sell them to the city.
Abell also reported his department believes it has found the root problem preventing the sounding of the old city siren and would be working to correct it soon.
“It’s coming. I promise it’s coming,” he said, noting many residents have been asking when it would be back in operation.
By a 5-0 vote, the council voted to replace the Palmyra Nutrition Center’s air conditioning system at a cost of $3,600 by Kroeger Heating & Cooling of Palmyra.
Council member Earl Meyer said the 19-year-old system was failing and that it is very much needed at the center, which serves meals and could serve as an emergency cooling location during hot days.
There were some questions if the one bid obtained by Meyer would be sufficient under the city’s bidding policy.
It was note by City Attorney James Lemon that exceptions are given in case of maintenance and emergency situations, which, he said, this fits.
Meyer also said there was no likelihood of any out-of-town company being able to beat the bid offered by Kroeger.
Councilman Patrick Barns reported the police committee discussed adding an evidence module to the department’s existing Lawman computer software package.
Bogue said the department currently handle’s evidence logging by hand, and the module would be of help.
He was planning to get more specific cost figures to present to the council.
Dornberger said he is close to obtaining all the property easements needed before starting on a Lane Street storm water drainage project.
After some discussion it was the consensus of the council for Lemon to work on a possible new brush pickup ordinance to replace two existing ones.
Mayor Adrian said the city’s planning & zoning board supported passage of a proposed new minor subdivision ordinance.
He also said a lease agreement for use of the Palmyra Fire Station had been sent to the Palmyra Fire Protection District for signing.
Council member Brock Fahy asked a Finance Committee meeting be held to discuss a city employee pay scale.