More lanes coming to Jackson Street in Ozark

OZARK, Mo. A big road construction project is about to get underway in Ozark that will snarl traffic in parts of the city until it's completed.

More than 9,000 drivers travel up and down Jackson Street every day.

Missouri Department of Transportation has plans to ease traffic woes. Starting at16th Street, a little less than a mile, down to the Finley River Bridge Jackson Street will be go from three to five lanes.

"There's just so much here. This is where we want to be. It's good for business. But at the same time the traffic can be a little bit difficult to deal with, said Dr. Marie Batson."

Her optometry practice has been on Jackson Street, also known as Highway 14 for 20 years.

"There isn't any place available close to here where I want to be. We kind of centrally located and we really do like that," she said.

Still, she said plans to add more lanes to the highway doesn't seem possible.

"There doesn't seem to be a lot of room there to expand the lanes. It becomes kind of a danger for us to turn left across just the existing lanes of traffic. It's very concerning to add more lanes, more cars and still be able to get people safely out of our parking lot," explained Batson.

John Sanders, Design Engineer for MoDOT said, "This project's been many years in the making. I think ever since I've been here, four years, at least, I know that we've been working on this job."

In addition to more lanes the intersection of Route NN and 9th Street near Jackson Street will be widened. Drivers will no longer be able to access Jackson Street at 10th street. Drivers will not be able to access Route NN from 4th street. New storm drains, gutters, guard rails and retaining walls will also be built.

"We're building to capacity out there to maintain the traffic flow for the next 20 years," said Sanders.

Batson said, "People who move to Ozark just kind of expect that if you want to live in a growing community this is something that you have to deal with."

The city of Ozark has partnered with MoDOT on this $9.3 million dollar project. Construction is set to start in just a few months. It will take at least a year to finish.

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