To increase safety at the Expressway and Key Largo intersection in Osage Beach, while also allowing through access to nearby businesses, the Missouri Department of Transportation has decided to partially re-open the intersection.
Under the plan, drivers will not be able to make a left turn onto the Expressway from Osage Beach Parkway, a movement that was causing accidents at the intersection. All other traffic movements will be allowed.
MoDOT will also add an eastbound acceleration lane on the Expressway to give travelers more time to get up to speed when exiting the intersection from the parkway and heading east. In addition, the speed limit from west of Rt. KK to west of A Road will be reduced from 65 mph to 60 mph as an added safety measure.
No changes will be made to the nearby Runabout and Spring Valley intersections located on Route 54.
"We believe the solution we've chosen will increase safety, while also taking into consideration the needs of residents and businesses in the area," said MoDOT Central District Engineer David Silvester.
Silvester said MoDOT would continue to work with local officials and businesses to determine a long-term solution to address the intersections on the Expressway in the lake area. However, he stressed a lack of funding for transportation projects would prevent the agency from making much progress in that direction.
MoDOT officials held an initial meeting on April 25 to get feedback on three proposals to improve safety at the Expressway and Key Largo intersection. Based on feedback from that meeting, MoDOT proposed additional safety improvements to the three intersections on Route 54 between Rt. KK and Y Road - Key Largo, Runabout and Spring Valley. The proposal would have allowed traffic to turn right in and right out only at all three intersections.
The transportation department held a second community briefing on June 14 to discuss those proposed changes. The majority of comments received as a result of that meeting supported dropping the speed limit in that area, but opposed making any changes at Runabout and Spring Valley.
Silvester said his staff spent a good deal of time reviewing public comments, traffic flow, travel speeds and crash data to determine the best course of action. They also met with city and county officials and business owners to get input.
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"We didn't make our decision lightly or in a vacuum," he said. "We received a great deal of public feedback on our proposed changes and tried to find a solution the community could accept. We realize not everyone will be happy with our decision, but we have a responsibility to make our roadways as safe as we can."
Six crashes occurred at the Key Largo intersection between Jan. 1 and April 29, when MoDOT and state and local law enforcement agencies partially closed the intersection. Since then, there have been no further crashes at the intersection.
The new speed limit will go into effect Aug. 1. Work on the safety improvements at Key Largo will begin in September and is expected to be completed before Thanksgiving.