At least two plans are on the table in Osage Beach to help improve the traffic flow west of Rt. KK with the objective of motorist safety and improved economic health for several struggling businesses.
Several aldermen along with city staff have devised a sketchy plan to build an overpass near Key Largo Road. And MoDOT has offered an equally preliminary plan to build a slip ramp (similar to an outer road) parallel to the Expressway from the dead end of Osage Beach Parkway west to Y Road.
The city of Osage Beach held a workshop Thursday night to unveil its plan and to see first hand what MoDOT proposes. Aldermen and staff were set up in a different format in the center of the council chambers surrounded by an estimated 75 interested visitors.
Aldermen, staff and two MoDOT engineers first discussed the complexities of designing a ramp that would ensure safety and reopening thru-traffic west of Rt. KK. Then Dave Sylvester with MoDOT’s Jefferson City headquarters and area MoDOT engineer Bob Lynch detailed that agency’s plans for a slip ramp.
After the work session closed, the audience had a chance to ask questions of any of the proposals.
Everyone who spoke had a different perspective not only on the proposals, but also on the economic problems on the west side and the need for improved signage along the Expressway and Osage Beach Parkway.
Sylvester assured everyone that MoDOT is willing to do what it can within the parameters of the regulations to improve signage. He also told the board of aldermen a decision needs to be made soon if the city wants MoDOT to pursue the slip ramp option.
MoDOT has promised business owners west of Grand Glaize Bridge, especially those west of Rt. KK, that an eastbound acceleration lane will be built by Thanksgiving from Key Largo merging with the Expressway. Sylvester said if the city wants to share in the cost of the $3 million slip ramp then plans for the Key Largo acceleration lane will be put on hold.
Sylvester said he would take the city’s idea back to Jefferson City so a model can developed to determine its feasibility.
Cost to build a diamond exchange in the Key Largo/Lazy Days Road area is estimated at between $8 and $15 million, with the city and MoDOT splitting the cost. A slip ramp would cost about $3 million with the city, MoDOT and cost share funds paying for the construction.
He also said MoDOT would not install traffic lights at Key Largo because of safety reasons. In fact, he said the traffic signal at Highway 54 and W Road northwest of the lake will be removed in the near future.