The construction of roads, intersections, sidewalks, trails and bridges is a major part of Columbia’s Capital Improvement Program managed by Columbia Public Works. Public input is sought at every step of the process, whether it is voting for funding, expressing views to the City Council, or participating in neighborhood meetings to review engineering plans.
Columbia Public Works coordinates with the City’s Finance Department, Community Development, Columbia Utilities, Vision Zero and other departments/agencies to prioritize construction projects based on funding schedules, traffic management challenges, safety concerns, scheduling conflicts and logistical issues.
Public Involvement Process
Chapter 22 of the City of Columbia Code of Ordinances details the City’s commitment to Public Works and Improvements. Public Works staff is always available to meet with interested parties as a group or individually to discuss projects and how they may affect property owners.
Stakeholders in the community are identified and invited, along with the general public, to an Interested Parties meeting to review and provide feedback on the conceptual plans for a given project. Preliminary plans are then developed and presented to the City Council during a formal public hearing. Public comments are heard before a final discussion and/or vote is conducted by the Council. The designs are then finalized and, if easements are needed for the project, right-of-way plans are drafted and presented to Council for consideration. Finally, the construction plans and specifications are drawn up for bid and a bid call is presented to Council for approval.
The following steps represent a typical public involvement process. (Depending on the type and complexity of the project, this process may vary. For example, a variation of this process is used by the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program. In all variations, the final project must be approved by City Council before construction can begin.
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10. Public Hearing held at City Council meeting