MoDOT, District 8, Springfield -- MoDOT's plan for rebuilding the I-44/Route 13 interchange in Springfield will be displayed in a public meeting at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds on Tuesday, June 24.
The design, called a Diverging Diamond Interchange, will be the first of its type built in the USA. Transportation departments in other states are planning similar projects and MoDOT is considering employing the design elsewhere in Springfield, in cooperation with the City of Springfield, and other locations in the state. The design is in use in Europe.
The come-and-go, open house-style meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds (Missouri Entertainment and Event Center) at Norton Road and Grant Avenue. Use Gate 5 on Norton Road just east of Dickerson Park Zoo.
No formal presentation is planned. However, visitors will be able to look at project displays, a traffic simulation and a video explaining how the new design will work and take home a brochure summarizing the plan. MoDOT engineers will be available for one-on-one discussions.
The I-44/Route 13 (Kansas Expressway) project is aimed at reducing congestion and improving safety at the interchange.
The Diverging Diamond Interchange will be a quicker, cheaper reconstruction than more conventional interchange projects.
With a Diverging Diamond Interchange design, the opposing lanes of Route 13 will criss-cross at traffic signals at the ends of the bridge over I-44. Crossing the bridge, oncoming traffic will be on the right, separated by concrete barriers and screening.
This will give left-turning vehicles on Route 13 a "free left" to the I-44 on-ramp. At the same time, traffic continuing north or south on Route 13 will be able to travel more steadily THROUGH the interchange.
Work on the project is scheduled to begin in early 2009, with completion in mid- to late 2009.
Reasons for using a Diverging Diamond Interchange design:
* The existing bridge will be used, although the bridge will be rehabilitated with a new deck. That means construction can be completed in about six months to nine months, not the two-plus years required for a more standard interchange reconstruction which would include building a new bridge.
* Frequent traffic disruptions will occur during construction. However, inconvenience for six months to nine months is much preferred than a timeline that requires two-plus years of lane closings and traffic shifts during construction. Plans call for keeping two lanes open at all times for southbound Route 13 traffic and one lane open for northbound Route 13.
* Cost is estimated at $2-1/2 million -- one-third the cost of a more standard rebuilt interchange.
* Computerized traffic models predict that 35 percent more vehicles on Route 13 will be able to move through the interchange when the signal is green.
* Left-turn crashes (from Route 13 onto I-44) should be eliminated and rear-end crashes reduced.
Anyone attending the June 24 MoDOT public meeting will be able to submit written comments that night or send comments to MoDOT through June 30.
MoDOT's mailing address is 3025 E. Kearney St., Springfield, MO, 65803. Send email comments by going to www.modot.org and clicking on "Contact Us."