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U.S. 50 Corridor Study - Public Opinion



U.S. 50

Public Involvement


U.S. 50

Preferred Improvement Strategy


U.S. 50

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U.S. 50

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Public input played a key role throughout the U.S. 50 Corridor Study process. 

A task force of city, county, and economic development leaders, called TransForum, was formed at the beginning of the study and first met in November 2000.

In early December 2000, the first informal public meeting was held at MoDOT’s District 4 headquarters in Lee’s Summit.  Attendees viewed exhibits summarizing the study and its initial findings; identified specific areas of concern along U.S. 50; and discussed questions and suggestions with MoDOT and project team representatives.

In December and January, 2001, MoDOT conducted a survey of 400 randomly selected individuals living along the U.S. 50 study corridor.  Most surveyed gave the highway poor grades for safety, congestion and road conditions:

  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents said travel on the highway had become more dangerous in the past five years.
  • Virtually all of those surveyed thought traffic on U.S. 50 had increased in the past five years; nearly 75 percent said traffic had increased significantly.
  • More than half believed the highway itself was in poor to fair condition.  Only 2 percent described the highway’s condition as excellent.

Preliminary design alternatives for U.S. 50 were reviewed and fine-tuned at an early-May meeting attended by TransForum members and representatives from MoDOT and TranSystems Corporation.  As a result of this meeting, the team created three broad improvement options that were presented later in May at a workshop attended by area residents, businesses and travelers of the corridor.

All three improvement options called for:

  • Widening the highway,
  • Converting the highway to an access-controlled freeway east of Todd George Road,
  • Upgrading existing interchanges,
  • Adding one or more new interchanges, including a freeway-to-freeway interchange at Missouri Route 291 South, and
  • Reconfiguring traffic flow on outer roads.

The alternatives differed, however, in how outer roads should be configured: The three outer road options were:

  • Two-way traffic on outer roads on both sides of U.S. 50.
  • Two lanes of one-way traffic on each side of the highway.
  • A combination of one-way and two-way traffic movement that calls for traffic to move in opposite directions on outer belts on either side of the highway where congestion is heaviest and the right-of-way is the narrowest.  In more lightly traveled segments of the corridor, outer roads would carry two-way traffic.

 

Attendees at a May 31, 2001, public involvement meeting offered comments but reached no clear consensus on the three design alternatives.  Sentiments, both in favor and against, were expressed for all three options.  Many in attendance expressed support for enhancing local access to the highway system near I-470 and U.S. 50, particularly in light of the pending commercial development in the vicinity.

Attendees at the meeting identified the top five criteria to be considered in designing improvements. They were:

  • Increasing safety,
  • Minimizing congestion,
  • Minimizing travel time,
  • Improving access to U.S. 50, and
  • Improving regional access.

The Lee’s Summit City Council also voiced its preferences at a June 2001 work session.  The council favored two-way outer roads throughout the length of the highway, an interchange at Blackwell Road, and minimizing the amount of right-of-way acquisition.

The TransForum study team continued to solicit and receive public comment throughout the summer months through the U.S. 50 Corridor web site, by telephone, and in writing.  Final recommendations for improvements to the corridor were completed in late 2001.  A presentation was made to the Lee’s Summit City Council on November 8, 2001.  The recommendations take into consideration public input, preferences of local public officials and ongoing engineering analysis.
 
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