Grant Avenue Parkway Corridor Update: Parkview roundabout expected to be finished by start of school

Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 7:15 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Construction on the first section of the Grant Avenue Parkway near Parkview High School is expected to reopen to traffic on schedule by the start of the upcoming school year.

Work began between Ildereen Street and Catalpa Street in mid-May as the first part of new construction on the Grant Avenue Parkway Corridor, one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Springfield’s history.

The three-mile Grant Avenue Project Corridor aims to connect downtown Springfield to the Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium with a pedestrian-and-bicycle-friendly road and scenic neighborhoods along the way.

The roadway work is divided into eight sections, and the first section just behind Parkview High School was chosen as the initial construction area for a reason.

“It’s really important to get that part wrapped up very quickly during the summer, so we’re not impacting school traffic,” said Kristen Milam, the City of Springfield Communication Coordinator. “As of right now, construction has been going very smoothly, and we’re on schedule to reopen the roadway before the start of school.”

On Monday, crews were laying asphalt on the roundabout, and dump trucks were coming-and-going every few minutes, with the repetitive “beep-beep-beep” filling the neighborhood as they were backing up.

Antonio Salgado has a front-row seat for all that construction work as he lives right next to the “Road Closed” signs and the start of the construction area.

He said the equipment and trucks usually start firing up just after seven o’clock in the morning.

“Sometimes I wear my earplugs, but it’s okay.,” he said with a smile. “I plug my ears and rest for the night.”

Antonio has a beautiful rock garden in his front yard where he’s lived for over 25 years. And even though all the construction is bringing some noise pollution and involved taking some of his property for the easement improvements, he’s happy to see the new parkway coming through.

“It’s for a good cause,” he said. “It’s for the community and they needed the land so I let them have it. It’s something new to us that’s never happened before and Johnny Morris has given us a lot of good things. So they just happened to choose my street and that’s okay.”

After this Section 1 is completed by the start of the school year the next roadwork will be done just south of the roundabout towards Sunshine Street. These areas, known as Sections 2 and 3, will allow the public to see what the parkway will look like with its pedestrian and multi-use paths.

And while Section 1 was completely closed to traffic during the road work, the rest of the construction project will not require total closure.

“The rest of the sections will just be partially-closed and only carry southbound traffic,” Milam said. “Northbound traffic will be routed through a couple of different detours most of which will involve going north using Campbell. But there will be a lot of areas where you can cut back in to Grant so it’s really going to be shut-off in smaller segments.”

After work is done in Sections 2 and 3 the roadway improvements will continue from south-to-north in sections as well.

But keep in mind the roadwork is not the only part of the overall corridor project as neighborhood revitalization and economic improvement are also involved.

That part of the corridor improvement could take longer than the roadwork though because consultants with the city are still working on finding incentives to get developers and home owners to improve their properties.

“We’re trying to find the resources available to them to access a grant or other incentives to help them improve their home or an income property they have,” Milam explained. “But we can only take it so far and then the community has to get involved. People have been very receptive to the idea but it’s actually when you start implementing that idea that they need to jump in. This is something completely new for Springfield and people will have to see this and live this in a different way than they do with any other roadway. This is not meant to get people quickly from Point A-to-Point B. This is going to be to enjoy the journey and link you from one resource to the next. But it’s not going to be a speedway and it’s not designed for that.”

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