Conley Road - Business Loop 70 Connector begins construction this summer

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COLUMBIA - Construction on a Conley Road extension near the intersection of I-70 and U.S. 63 is set to begin this summer.

The project will connect Conley Road with East Boulevard, a dead-end road off the east end of Business Loop 70 East. The Conley Road connector would allow drivers direct access to Conley Road, and in particular the Conley Road Shopping Center, without having to get on the interstate. It is also intended to ease traffic at the I-70 connector to U.S. 63.

The extension will require a new bridge over Hinkson Creek, and the installation of a traffic light on Conley Road.

The Conley Road Transportation District (TDD), created by the Conley Road Shopping Center owners in 2005, will pay for the extension.

In Columbia, it is common for shopping centers to form TDDs, which collect special additional sales taxes to build and support infrastructure. The TDD tax is a half-cent sales tax that applies to items sold in the Broadway Marketplace shopping center, which includes a Wal-Mart Supercenter, Lowe's, Hy-Vee, Sam's Club, and Party City. 

According to Jean Leonatti, board president of the Columbia Country Club, three years ago the country club had to rebuild a portion of its golf course in order to accommodate the extension plans.

"Now they are doing the next phase, which I guess is still the bridge and the road." Leonatti said. "So at this point other than maybe hearing some of the noise from the construction trucks, it will not affect the country club because that has all been taken care of."

Robert Hollis, the attorney for the Conley Road TDD, was unavailable for comment.