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story.lead_photo.caption The entrance to Tara Road is seen in September as it intersects with Tanner Bridge Road. County Commission recently approved work that will widen the intersection. Work is expected to be completed by May 2020. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

The first phase of safety improvements on Tanner Bridge Road was approved Tuesday by the Cole County Commission.

Work to widen, as well as vertically and horizontally realign, the intersection at Tara Road will be done by Don Schnieders Excavating, which had the low bid for the project at $430,678.

The planned completion date for the project is May 30, 2020, but an incentive clause would give the contractor an additional $10,000 if the project is completed by Nov. 30.

In 2017, the commission approved an agreement for engineering work for these safety improvements. The county Public Works Department worked to identify safety-sensitive areas on Tanner Bridge Road after approval of the half-cent sales tax extension in 2016. This was because of the traffic growth seen on Tanner Bridge in the past decade. Public works officials said there are several sharp vertical and horizontal curves, and there have been accidents in many areas along the road.

The safety improvements would stretch from Route B to Grand Highland Subdivision. The four other areas identified to make safety improvements include:

  • Just south of the Route B intersection.
  • A low-lying area near Vida Lane that floods due to backwater from the Moreau River. A possible solution would be raising the grade of the road.
  • The S curve near the Grand  Highland Subdivision.
  • An area just past the Grand Highland Subdivision.

Fixing sharp curves, clearing trees and right of way for sight distance, and road widening, are all things that would be done with these improvement projects. Public works officials said the work is budget-dependent and couldn't be done all at one time.

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