New Highway 60/125 interchange between Springfield-Rogersville has some businesses worried about the effects of construction

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 7:41 PM CST
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ROGERSVILLE, Mo. (KY3) - A new interchange is about to be built at the intersection of Highway 60 and 125.

The spot, near Logan Rogersville High School, will take about a year-and-a-half to finish with the long-term goal of easing traffic congestion along a heavily traveled corridor between Springfield and Rogersville. But there are those who are concerned about the short-term effects while the $20 million construction project is going on.

Between now and November 2024, the stop-light intersection of four-lane highway 60 and two-lane highway 125 will be turned into a non-light interchange with a bridge carrying highway 60 traffic over highway 125.

There will be entry and exit ramps coming off Highway 60 and Highway 125 will have roundabouts instead of traffic lights. A similar set-up is just a few miles down the road at Mills Street in Rogersville.

One of the main businesses affected will Be Willow Green Acres, a garden center/antique mall that sits next to a Kum-and-Go on the northeast corner of the intersection.

“We are going to be severely affected, especially during the construction process,” said Willow Green Acres Co-Owner Kevin Chapman. “They’re taking a portion of our property along Highway 60 and closing our primary entrance permanently. Then they’re running a road right through the middle of our property in the back. The thing that probably frustrated me the most is that when they had public meetings, the majority of the people wanted the interchange to be moved to the east of where we are. But then influencers that I cannot name got involved and what was going to happen suddenly changed. The bridge will be right next to our property and if you’re coming over it from the west it will be very difficult for you to see us. We’ll have to come up with some large signage or something to make sure people know where we’re located. It’s not ideal. When it’s all said and done we’ll be fine but during this process it’s going to be a challenge. So I’m very worried.”

And Chapman’s dealings with MoDOT are not over yet.

“We have an attorney who is negotiating and working through MoDOT’s purchasing of property from us and what they’re doing to our facility,” he explained. “There’s a well that they want to take out because it’s on the property they’re wanting. There’s water lines that go to a house and the antique mall that will have to be redone. The fences will have to be redone. The gates will have to be removed. We’ll even have to change our address so all our stationary, business cards and advertising will have to be updated. So we are in litigation, if you will, right now.”

Chapman does see the positive side of the new interchange though.

“It’s going to be safer,” he said. “And believe me, we’ve seen a lot of accidents right out in front of our business because people don’t realize they’re coming to a stoplight.”

S&H Farm Supply of Rogersville is located about a mile west of the intersection but CEO/President Eric Schnelle is among business owners in that area who are concerned because MoDOT will be closing off the median crossover turns during part of the construction.

That means some customers who would normally make a left turn at the median crossover lane straight into S&H’s lot will have to instead go about three miles down the road and then turn around to get back to the business.

“A lot of the crossover turn lanes they’re going to be closing are a mile-or-two from the construction site and they’re what customers use to get to our businesses so we’re really concerned about the confusion it’s going to cause as well as a loss of business,” Schnelle pointed out. “And by closing the turn lanes there’s also going to be increased traffic going through the construction site because you have to go through that intersection twice to get back to the businesses located on the other side of the road. If your business has limited or decreased traffic flow for at least six months that is going to have a major impact on the profitability of a lot of businesses. And that’s really hard for them after several years of COVID and closures.”

Despite his concerns, Schnelle too sees the benefits of the new interchange.

“I think it will help to make a more even traffic flow,” he said. “We’re lucky because we’re not right at the intersection where those businesses will be seeing some drastic changes as to how cars get in and out of their locations and their visibility to customers (because of the elevated bridge and its walls).”

“Looking long term, at the end of the day this is going to be fantastic for our community,” added Logan-Rogersville Fire Chief Richard Stirts, who pointed out that the Highway 60/125 interchange has a very high rate of accidents. “It’s going to be safer for the public and the new interchange will allow us to cross the highway much easier when we’re responding to an emergency. I have been T-boned at this intersection when I had the green light. I was running lights and sirens and the person ran a red light. But this will be the fourth bridge for Rogersville we’ve gotten in the last 10 years and we have seen our critical accidents go down tremendously because of these bridges.”

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