Solution proposed for on-ramp congestion in Scott City

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Especially during the morning hours, traffic turning onto the northbound Interstate 55 on-ramp backs up far down Main Street in Scott City. A new proposal that would have drivers making a 180-degree turn onto the ramp got a tepid response at Monday night's Scott City Council meeting.

The proposal explained by Missouri Department of Transportation engineer Barry Horst would use James Street to move traffic from east to west and would create a buttonhook connecting the outer road with the northbound on-ramp onto I-55. James is an east-west street north of and parallel to Main Street. Westbound traffic on James Street would turn left on the outer road and then make a 180-degree turn onto the off-ramp.

The cost of the improvement would be about $150,000.

A number of people at the meeting spoke against increasing traffic on James Street. Steve Pirtle was concerned about the number of children that play on James Street. James Street resident Steve Glueck called the solution "a Band-Aid."

Most everyone agrees that the interchange needs a complete reworking, but Horst put that cost at $5 million.

He said MoDOT has been working with the council and with state Rep. Lanie Black, R-Charleston, for a number of years to help Scott City with the interchange problem. This proposal is a compromise between two other alternatives. One would connect James directly with the on-ramp, which Horst said could confuse drivers unused to merging on an on-ramp.

The solution favored by the Federal Highway Administration is to create a new right-turn lane for vehicles getting onto the on-ramp. Mayor Tim Porch and Horst agreed that the lane would severely impact the restaurant's business. Porch said he opposes that solution.

sblackwell@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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