The project, contracted out to Lehman Construction of California, Missouri, was initiated by the city of Joplin through the Capital Improvements Sales Tax that voters approved in 2004. Funding for the project has been split between MoDOT paying $1 million, the city paying $3.2 million, and the federal government contributing $5.8 million in funds secured by former U.S. Senator Jim Talent.
The interchange construction involves several major projects that will take approximately one year to complete. They will include:
- A bridge along Zora Street, that crosses over Main Street and the railroad tracks west of Main Street
- Exit ramps to connect north and south traffic along Main Street to the newly constructed east/west Zora Street and interchange
- A 3-lane road connecting Zora Street west of Main Street to Jasper County's Lone Elm Road; traffic going south on Lone Elm will then connect to the intersection of North Schifferdecker Road and Belle Center Road
- Creation of more efficient traffic flow moving north/south on Highway 43 with on and off exit ramps to Zora Street; two traffic signals along Main Street, one at Zora Street and one at Veterans Way, to be removed upon interchange completion.
Travelers will need to use caution throughout this area and will be impacted by various phases of the project. They include:
- Lane closings possible at times on Main Street
- Zora Street closed at Missouri Avenue east of Main Street starting in mid-March until the project's completion in mid-2013; driveways on Zora will be accessible from the east
- Detours marked on Fountain Road, St. Louis Avenue and Broadway Street
- Connection of Zora Street on the west side of Main Street into the new interchange in mid-October with Veterans Way on the west side of Main Street closed permanently
Lynn Onstot contributed to this report.
For an earlier article that includes a map go here.