One of the worst winters in 20 years put a halt to Farmington city crews completing the work on Columbia Street just in front of the Presbyterian Church up to Cayce Street.
Crews began lowering the grade on that section of roadway in advance of the MoDOT project to overlay Columbia and Liberty streets this year.
“I want to express my apologies to the community,” Public Works Director Larry Lacy expressed. “If it had been a typical winter, we would have pavement in by now.”
Instead, the work crews took a one-two weather punch.
The first punch came when winter weather kicked in almost a month before the actual first day of winter.
The second punch came when below average temperatures caused the snow to stick around for at least three weeks after it first fell to the ground.
The hits kept on coming when it seemed the fifth of each month brought in another round of winter precipitation followed by bone-chilling cold.
Lacy said the warmer rain—and, warmer refers to temperatures in the 50s—predicted for the weekend of Feb. 15 would have helped to warm the ground up for crews to finish.
“I wish you could lock in those good forecast made days in advance,” Lacy said, comparing weather forecast to low interest rates.
At the Feb. 13 Farmington City Council meeting, Ward I Councilman Larry Forsythe reported there were “three days of concrete work” left on the project.
As Lacy explained, that work is dependent on the weather. While the temperatures may be warmer, the ground needs to be warm enough for crews to lay the concrete.
After the first round of winter weather, crews used “warming blankets” to help raise the temperature of the ground.
In the meantime, crews keep watching the weather.
“We thank everyone for their patience,” he said.
During the meeting, Mayor Mit Landrum told Lacy he received many calls and comments from citizens thanking the city street crews for their work during the winter weather.
In addition, appreciation was given to the water crews who have been able to fix numerous water leaks in less than ideal conditions.
“Because of their quick work, we did not have to issue any boil water orders,” Lacy said.
The council will next meet in regular session on Feb. 24.
•The Farmington City Council had three pieces of legislation on Thursday night’s agenda dealing with fire department equipment. The first piece was amending the budget to include the purchase of a new pumper truck, extrication and vehicle stabilization equipment at a cost of just more than $800,000. It passed unanimously after a first and second reading. The fiscal year budget was passed prior to the passage of the capital improvement sales tax in November, requiring the amendment to the budget to be made. The other two items dealing with the equipment — each receiving unanimous approval — included entering into a three-year lease-purchase agreement with US Bancorp at 1.2 percent interest, and a contract with Pierce Manufacturing for the pumper truck, which is expected to take 10 months to complete;
• First reading of an ordinance acknowledging the donation of a lot located at the corner of Franklin and Third Street from brothers Bill and Charles Matthews. Mayor Mit Landrum told the council the land holds a rich history as the site of an early African Methodist Episcopal Church west of the Mississippi. The gift of the land was given by the brothers for the city to develop the site into a memorial park in honor of the African-American families who played an integral part in the history and development of Farmington;
•Approved the second reading of an ordinance amending the municipal code on passing bad checks to align with state statutes relating to online payments;
•Approved the implementation of commercial truck weight restrictions on several routes downtown. Those routes include Robby Lane from Hillsboro Road to North Washington Street; Maple Street from Maple Valley Drive to Potosi Street; Potosi Street from Karsch Boulevard to Liberty Street; West Liberty Street from Maple Valley Drive to Main Street; Columbia Street from Highway 67 to Main Street; Ste. Genevieve Avenue from Main Street to Karsch Boulevard; Walter Street from Ste. Genevieve Avenue to Fleming Street and New Perrine Road from Doubet Road to Columbia Street. City Administrator Greg Beavers said this ordinance marked years of work by former administrations, including former Mayor Dr. Douglas Ross, of prohibiting large truck traffic in the downtown area;
• Approval of a contract with Electric Controls Company for supervisory control and data acquisition at Well 20, located on Tower Drive off Burks Road;
• Approval of the purchase of a home located on South Jefferson Street near the airport;
• Addition of a public hearing on March 13 involving an amendment to the Community Improvement District (CID) relating to the Maple Valley Plaza CID. Beavers explained this is part of continued work to bring Menards to the area.
Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor for the Farmington Press and can be reached by calling 573-756-8927 or firstname.lastname@example.org