Transportation leaders aim to ease traffic woes on Kansas Expressway in north Springfield

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 9:33 PM CST
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Springfield transportation leaders are eyeing their next big project to ease traffic woes.

The focus of those changes is keeping the flow of vehicles and pedestrians moving safely along Kansas Expressway past Kearney Street.

Statistics say it can take up to 20 minutes to get through the diverging diamond at Interstate 44. That was the first intersection of its kind built in the country back in 2009. Engineers say it was supposed to be a long-term fix but the population of the area has grown over the years.

Local and state partners are teaming up to spend $295,000 to study nearly a 3-mile long stretch. They’re hoping to come up with a solution for all the congestion.

They are asking the community to weigh in on potential changes.

“Pretty packed usually. Really a lot of traffic,” said Erik Skillingstad.

He says he’s battled the growing traffic in Springfield for the past 30 years.

The area he travels the most is North Highway 13.

“Every day is about the same. You get stopped at lights. There are a million cars. They get moving but it’s slow getting through here,” he said.

The route in the northern part of town is not limited to local travel. It also sees a lot of tourism.

“Well, we’ve got a lot of different things going on between the fairgrounds, the Dickerson Park Zoo, and Fantastic Caverns. We’ve got a lot of event traffic that adds to the mix,” said Andy Thomasson with Ozarks Transportation Organization.

He says local and state engineers are putting a plan together to keep people moving.

“It’s not just how many cars are driving on the road today. It’s how many cars are out there plus all the ones that are avoiding the intersection. We’ll have to figure out what that true demand is and then project that forward,” he said.

Ozarks Transportation Organization has launched an online survey to gather your thoughts and ideas on plans.

“There’s a lot we’ve got to balance and figure out how we can keep it safe for people to move but yet still get all the cars through as well. We don’t want to be back in this area for a while. We want to be able to get it fixed correctly,” said Thomasson.

Skillingstad says he has a few ideas of his own.

“Well if they can widen the road and add one more lane it would be a lot better but they probably can’t do that,” he said.

He says he will just wait out traffic with the rest of us until changes are made.

“Honk the horn. Tell them to move it,” said Skillingstad.

Engineers are planning to finish a concept design in February 2022.

Final recommendations are expected in May 2022.

Construction on changes to the area is scheduled for completion by June 2022.

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