City survey reveals importance of street repairs

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COLUMBIA - According to a recent survey by DirectionFinder, Columbia residents believe the city needs to prioritize street repairs.

The annual survey was conducted last winter and the results were released this spring. The survey received input from 960 Columbia households and rated resident satisfaction with city services.

The survey showed satisfaction with street conditions fell eight percent from the last survey in 2016. Richard Stone, public works operations and engineering manager, said the survey showed the amount of importance Columbia residents place on road conditions.

“We want to work with MoDOT and our own forces to make sure our roads are in good condition,” Stone said.

Roadway funding comes from a transportation sales tax. The money then goes to street maintenance and other road and sidewalk projects. Stone said the city is underfunded by about $1.5 million toward maintaining the city’s roads.

“We have done the best we can with the money that is allocated towards our program but at some point it comes down to a certain amount of funding to make sure we can keep the roads in good condition," Stone said.

Stone said when a road reaches its failing point its best to let it continue to deteriorate before fixing it. He believes that is where residents begin to get upset.

“It would be better to fix an entire roadway at a later date then to do spot work on a roadway that has deteriorating conditions,” Stone said. “It would cost nearly the same to fix a short section of the roadway as it does fix the entire thing.”

We are doing the best we can with what we’ve got and supplementing funding where we can,” Stone said.

MoDOT is preparing for two road and sidewalk projects in Columbia. The city anticipates starting sidewalk improvements on Paris Road this summer and on College Avenue in 2018.