State of the City's Infrastructure
Posted on 08/27/2023
The following is a part of a monthly letter series from Mayor Stacy Kinder to the Southeast Missourian newspaper. Read the first of the three part series on safety published in July.

Just as public safety is a source of interest and concern for Cape Girardeau, so is its infrastructure. Issues like potholes, street flooding, safe drinking water, and reliable sewer systems impact our quality of life and economic viability. I’ll give an overview of some current projects and point to some references for much more detail.

In local street projects and infrastructure work, various departments and funding sources maintain, renovate, and build our city streets. Our Public Works department is responsible for overall infrastructure maintenance, including water (through the city’s contract with Alliance Water), stormwater, sewer and wastewater, some of the street repair, trash and recycling services, and the city fleet. Public Works manages the Accelerated Street Repair Projects in the 2019 voter-approved Capital Improvement Sales Tax, which adds $7.5 million in maintenance to city streets.

To date this calendar year, Public Works crews have:

  • Filled over 1500 potholes
  • Swept 5,104 miles of streets
  • Spent 1,024 man-hours on mowing
  • Put in 434 additional hours and overtime, working winter weather events, placing emergency signage, and clearing trees and limbs from roads
  • Loaded and hauled off 109 tons of debris

Other large Public Works projects this year include:

  • The Cured-In-Place Pipe project is for approximately $2.6 million, funded via ARPA funds. It includes lining sanitary sewer pipes, sewer main and connection repairs and replacement, and manhole repair and replacement.
  • The Waste Water Treatment Plant Influent Pump Station Mechanical Bar Screen project is in the design phase. This project is estimated at $3.5 million and will improve incoming flow operations at the plant.
  • Currently under construction are the Sherwood/Westwood intersection and Brookwood/Masters intersection box culverts. These improvements are funded via the 2018 voter-approved Parks, Recreation, and Stormwater 2 sales tax (PRS2) and will assist with stormwater flows in these areas.
  • Also in the design phase are five street crossing upgrades, funded via ARPA funds and PRS2. You can find more information on the PRS2 tax initiative at “”.

You can go to “” for much more detail on the ongoing and future work to be done. All this work directly impacts the quality of life and safety to both residents and property while also contributing to the economic viability of our businesses and industry here. 

The City currently faces two significant problems in dealing with these projects and ongoing maintenance. First, as is true globally, materials costs have increased dramatically. For example: in 2018, the cost of a ton of asphalt was $63.25, but rose to $112.64 in 2022, an increase of 178%. Additionally, the cost of a square foot of concrete in 2018 was $4.87, and in 2022 that cost rose to $6.60, a 136% increase.  Due to these inflated construction costs, the ongoing maintenance projects will include fewer streets per year to stay on budget.

The second problem is a shortage of personnel. The Streets Crew is budgeted for 16 worker positions. However, we’ve been short 6 positions since October 2022. The issue of hiring qualified workers to get the road work done efficiently is an urgent priority. The city is looking into mitigating this issue with focused recruitment, salary enhancements, and the viability of subcontracting work.

On a positive note, the city has secured several large grants to help with projects:

  • Through the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) Transportation Alternatives Program, TAP grants totaling approximately $1 million have been secured for improvements along Kingshighway, Marie Louise Lane, and Cape Rock Drive. This work will focus on sidewalk, intersection, and roadway improvements in areas frequented by pedestrians accessing parks, schools, municipal facilities, and businesses.
  • The Missouri Department of Natural Resources awarded the City $2.68 million to upgrade street crossings in the Lisa Branch Watershed. These crossings include Westwood Dr, Glenridge Dr, Melrose Ave, and Lisa Dr.
  • The City received a MoDOT cost-share grant to construct a new connection at Minnesota and Shawnee Parkway. This will improve neighborhood access to the community center and pool at Jefferson Elementary. The Engineering Division is working with MoDOT on the design.

All of this work will significantly increase pedestrian and driver safety and improve traffic flow in these areas.

The City also has an important additional tool for developing and maintaining roads with the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). Since 1995, voters have approved the TTF tax six times, which adds a half-cent sales tax to apply to street projects. The city’s Engineering Division manages TTF projects. Visit “” to see all of the completed, current, and upcoming street renovation projects.

Regionally, there are numerous projects and concepts in development. The Southeast Metropolitan Planning Organization (SEMPO) represents our region on large-scale transportation issues and projects. You can go to “” for great detail on current projects in our city and region.

Numerous roads within our city limits are MoDOT roadways, with Interstate 55 being the most obvious. An ongoing project involves the Exit 93 area at I-55. MoDOT, in collaboration with SEMPO, has studied multiple issues in this area, including bridge replacement, improved safety, better connections, and flooding mitigation. MoDOT has approved $8.9 million in construction funds for the bridge rehabilitation and intersection improvements in their FY26 budget. Ideas are still in discussion for additional intersection improvements. You can find much more information on this issue at “”.

Strong representation at the regional and state level will continue to produce better results for our city and region. The city looks forward to cultivating a closer working relationship with our regional and state partners, and Cape’s state and federal representatives—to help bring about the progress in infrastructure we know is needed in our area.

In conclusion, the sheer volume of infrastructure projects and funding sources described here demonstrates the city's robust commitment to upgrading roads, sewers, and facilities that impact daily life. This work could only be accomplished with the public's support in its demand for sound infrastructure and voter approval of infrastructure tax initiatives. While staff shortages and material costs have presented challenges, Cape Girardeau continues to make great progress, and the positive impact on the overall health, quality of life, and economic vitality of its residents is evident.

Continued smart infrastructure investment will improve the quality of life in Cape Girardeau. It will also pay dividends for economic growth. Proper roads and infrastructure facilities attract new businesses and make it easier for customers to access local companies. This strong commitment to infrastructure fuels growth and makes our area an appealing place to live, work and invest.

In the next State of the City letter, I will discuss how building on current momentum with the right infrastructure and economic development strategies will allow us to meet the needs of our thriving community now and into the future.