Roadwork Until Spring? It’s News to Mayor

A southbound driver navigates Brentwood Boulevard near Bridgeport Ave. on June 18. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
A southbound driver navigates Brentwood Boulevard near Bridgeport Ave. on June 18. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Thornton meets with Dolan, urges better communication

 
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

Brentwood Mayor Chris Thornton said he has been made to look like a “chump” and he doesn’t like it.

At his monthly happy hour on June 16 at City Hall, he said he had been telling residents that the road improvements being made to Brentwood Boulevard are expected to be completed this fall. City Administrator Bola Akande confirmed that the St. Louis County Area Engineer told her on the week of June 5 that the project would be done by the end of November.

So Thornton was dismayed to read a May 27 article on the website 40 South News, in which a county official says the project may take until spring 2016. The delay is due to the county having to wait for Missouri American Water to complete work on Brentwood Blvd., said the official, David Wrone of the county division of Highways, Traffic and Public Works.

Brentwood Mayor Chris Thornton speaks to residents at his monthly "happy hour" at City Hall on June 16. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Brentwood Mayor Chris Thornton speaks to residents at his monthly “happy hour” at City Hall on June 16. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Speaking to about 20 residents at the happy hour, Thornton said he and Akande met recently with St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan, whose District 5 includes Brentwood.

St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan, in a photo from his website.
St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan, in a photo from his website.

“I explained to him my displeasure of reading in 40 South News that the project I was told would be finished by the end of November … could go to the spring,” said Thornton. “I told him that makes me look like a chump and I don’t like to be made to look like a chump.”

Thornton said Dolan “appeared to be just about as frustrated as we were” and that Dolan indicated Wrone “was waffling and trying to give himself room just in case the project went into the spring.”

Thornton’s main message to Dolan was to keep him informed about any project developments. Said the mayor, “For my part I’ve decided to grin, bear it, work as hard as I can with the county to get as much information as I can from them as often as I can and disseminate it to you so that you’ll have it straight from the horse’s mouth.”

A section of Brentwood Boulevard looking north near the Mobil station.
Brentwood Boulevard looking north near the Mobil station, on June 18. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Water main work completed

The Brentwood Blvd. project calls for a water main replacement between Bridgeport Ave. and Pine Ave., which is completed, and concrete repairs and other improvements between Eager Road and Marshall Ave. The Missouri American Water’s portion is expected to take four to five more weeks, ending in July. Beyond that, St. Louis County will work on sidewalks, curbing, medians and concrete repairs in areas unaffected by the water company’s project. For the city’s June 15 update on the project’s progress, click here.

Rough going

The construction has left Brentwood Blvd. with an extremely rough surface that is difficult to drive on. St. Louis television station KMOV reported on drivers’ concerns in a May 29 video segment. When Thornton held a Q&A session at a Chamber of Commerce picnic at Memorial Park on May 28, a resident joked that he had just lost a tooth filling while driving on Brentwood Blvd.

At the happy hour on Tuesday, Thornton urged residents to be patient.

“Bear with us,” he said. “It’s not our project. The county’s department of transportation is running it and there’s a lot of change going on at the county right now. … They have had change at every top position in the county. There’s a big housecleaning going on right now.”

Party on Brentwood Blvd.

Thornton drew smiles from the audience when he added, “And at the end of the day I’m very hopeful that I can have a New Year’s party on Brentwood Blvd. I told Bola, ‘I’m not kidding, I’m applying for a permit to block off a section of Brentwood Blvd. so we can have a party.’ On New Year’s Eve, if it’s done, we will have a party right out in front, right here (by City Hall). It may only last a half an hour but it’s going to be a party.”

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