Residents can offer input for Columbia road and sidewalk improvements

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COLUMBIA - Residents in the Columbia area will be able to speak their minds Tuesday at a public hearing about pavement and pedestrian improvements in Boone County.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is planning pavement and sidewalk improvement projects along Route B in Columbia in 2017 and then on College Avenue in 2018.

"It's part of a federal requirement that came out of the Americans with Disabilities Act," said transportation project manager Michael Dusenberg. "It basically requires us to upgrade all of our sidewalks and our ADA improvements on our system that currently don't meet the minimum requirements, so this is just part of that ongoing process."

One of the purposes of the meeting is to talk with property owners in the impacted areas about acquiring easements for the project for construction. An easement is a legal term for the right to enter upon or pass over another's land.

Dusenberg said he expects work to begin on the Route B improvements in the summer of 2017.

"One of our best assets in Missouri is our transportation system, and so what we are continuing to do with the funding that we are receiving from the public is we want to continue to take care of what we have, take care of our investment in transportation and take care of our pavements," Dusenberg said.

College Avenue has received a number of recent pedestrian improvements, including the high-intensity activated walk beacons installed in 2015. The new improvement plan will include features that comply with ADA access guidelines.

"The city of Columbia is one of the leaders, as far as communities go, in being accessible to not just vehicle traffic but your multi-modal folks, whether it's transit and buses or bicycles and pedestrians and trail systems," Dusenberg said.

The public hearing starts at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Roger B. Wilson Boone County Government Center Conference Room at 801 E. Walnut St. in Columbia.