Cape to fix revamped intersection on Mount Auburn

Monday, September 8, 2003

Motorists who travel through the new Mount Auburn-Independence intersection in Cape Girardeau won't have to feel they are on a go-cart track much longer.

The city plans to eliminate the sharp jog for southbound traffic by widening Mount Auburn north of the intersection so the transition from four lanes to five lanes is more gradual, said city engineer Mark Lester.

The added work, which is expected to get under way this week, will cost the city more than $10,000 and should be completed within two weeks, he said.

Mayor Jay Knudtson, whose First Missouri State Bank is on the southeast corner of the intersection, has seen the traffic problem firsthand.

"That is a goofy intersection," he said. "We know it is screwed up, and we are going to get it fixed," he said only days after activating new stoplights in a brief ceremony at the revamped intersection.

The biggest problem: a sudden jog right, indicated by a yellow-striped median, followed by a choice of two lanes going straight and one going left. Because the median isn't raised, most drivers began rolling right over the yellow markings minutes after traffic lights were turned on Aug. 29.

Lester said the scheduled improvements by the contractor, Lappe Cement Finishing of Perryville, Mo., should solve the problem.

Most of the work will be done on the right of way, although some of the construction may temporarily close a traffic lane, Lester said.

The city engineer said it shouldn't hamper motorists.

Lester also said he doesn't expect the roadwork to cause problems for those traveling to the SEMO District Fair several blocks away.

Lester said he had not anticipated any problem with the new intersection as originally designed. But once the intersection opened to traffic, city officials realized that motorists had trouble with the sharp jog and often weren't staying in their lanes.

Lester said it often takes time for motorists to get familiar with traffic changes. "Anytime you have any work on a street or intersection, it is a learning curve," he said.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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