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Science and the Environment

Roadwork Has Begun at I-44 and Kansas Expressway

Roadwork has begun at another major interchange in Springfield. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more.

Last week, the Missouri Department of Transportation began working on a project to convert the Glenstone and I-44 interchange from a cloverleaf design to a diamond one.This week, MODOT started work on another major interchange—I-44 and Kansas Expressway.According to MODOT spokesman Bob Edwards, that interchange will be converted to a design that’s used in Europe.

"It's called a diverging diamond interchange, and what it'll do is it'll help free the left turning movement to go from Kansas Expressway to I-44 and help the through traffic move through much easier."

He says the design involved crisscrossing the traffic at each end of the bridge over I-44 so that, when you drive over the bridge, you’ll be on the left hand side of the bridge instead of the right hand side.

"That way traffic can easily make a free left turn onto the I-44 onramp, and through traffic will continue on across the bridge and go back to the right side at the other end."

This will be the first such design to be completed in the U.S. Transportation Departments in other states are planning similar projects, but they won’t be done before Springfield’s. Edwards says they’re considering using the DDI design elsewhere in the city.

"There are a couple of other interchanges where we think this will work in Springfield, including the James River Freeway and National Avenue interchange. The city and MODOT are looking at that for a diverging diamond configuration."

Edwards says using the DDI design will save money and time since they won’t have to replace the bridge. Also as part of the project, the traffic light at Evergreen St., which goes into the Wal-Mart parking lot, will be relocated further south to help with traffic flow.If you’d like to learn more, plan to attend a meeting Tuesday January 20th.

"It's an informational meeting. It'll be at the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ on Tuesday. It's a come-and-go open-house style, 4:30-6:30 type of meeting. It's in the fellowship hall. There'll be some MODOT people and representatives of the contractor there. We'll be handing out some information about how this project is going to go, what it's going to look like when it's done, and people will be able to ask questions and take a look at some displays."

Since the DDI design hasn’t been used in the United States before, MODOT has put together an animation to show people how to drive it.

"You start thinking about driving on the wrong side of the road, and you wonder how people are going to keep from running into each other, but I think this animation will show how it's supposed to work."

That animation will be shown at Tuesday’s meeting. Again, it’s January 20th from 4:30 to 6:30 at Kansas Expressway Church of Christ, 2540 N. Kansas Expressway.Work on the 2.9 million dollar project is expected to be finished by July 10, 2009.