SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Springfield transportation officials have a list of projects along I-44 that they are trying to implement.
Currently, these groups are finalizing a request for approximately $70 million in federal funds. The Ozarks Transportation Organization is partnering with MoDOT, the City of Springfield, and Greene County for a 2022 Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Discretionary Grant to repair I-44.
The purpose of the application is to obtain funding to address capacity issues on I-44. One of the most problematic places is at the Kansas Expressway and I-44 interchange. The daily accumulation of traffic is a major annoyance for many drivers. Divergent Diamond has been around since 2009.
“What we’ve seen is a changing traffic pattern over time,” said Sara Fields, executive director of the Ozarks Transportation Organization. “So, once upon a time the main move was moving to I-44 from Kansas, and now it’s about even if people stay on Kansas via the southbound interchange to Springfield. This change in traffic was not fully anticipated.
Local transport leaders say the buildup can sometimes cost drivers an extra 10 to 20 minutes.
“We’ve heard a lot about how people are avoiding the interchange all together, taking other routes,” Fields said. “[This] leads us to believe that, you know, if we could shake all this up, we could get more people onto I-44 and out of neighborhoods and back roads.
Reorganizing the interchange is a major goal, but the increased traffic on I-44 itself also requires special attention. That’s why local transportation leaders say widening the lanes is also very important.
“It’s not just the number of cars, it’s the amount of freight that’s going up and the value of the freight,” Fields said. “And for the trucks to take more and more of that capacity, we would really like to add an extra lane inside to accommodate that freight movement.”
MoDOT already has partial funding for this project between Glenstone and 65. Aging bridges like the one on National Avenue also need attention.
“They get to the point where they’re over 50 and usually have to come down and have a whole new structure built,” Fields said.
Six bridges would be replaced, including those over National, Broadway and Grant Avenue. All are “limited weight
The funding would also cover a few pedestrian safety projects, primarily addressing ADA sidewalk improvements and lighting issues under bridges.
“One of the big safety things is to make it safer for pedestrians, trying to avoid some of these crashes on I-44 that result from backing up on I-44,” Fields said. “We’re looking at Farm Road 94 north of North Springfield where we have people going through and getting hit and dead up there. So we try to deal mainly with these three factors.
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