After months of prodding by the city, and negotiations between the city of Osage Beach and MoDOT, the Expressway running through city of Osage Beach will get new signs.
The board of aldermen, meeting in special session Thursday night, approved one of six options offered by MoDOT to replace existing signs in hopes of improving traffic flow off the new roadway an into the business district.
MoDOT will bear the cost.
Dave Silvester, district engineer for MoDOT, told the board a few weeks ago he would guarantee that the agency would replace the signs at the state’s expense, and would design six options for the board’s consideration. The city received a letter from Silvester dated Sept. 21, and the board met less than a week later to make a decision.
Travis Koestner, assistant district engineer, told the board Thursday night that the new signs would not be in place until summer “at the earliest.” He said MoDOT would have to complete a formal design, fund the project, bid it and then erect the signs from the northeast boundary of the Expressway to southwest of the city limits.
The new signs will read: Osage Beach Parkway/Business 54 and will reflect the interchange. For example, the sign at Jeffries Road would read: Jeffries Rd. to Osage Beach Parkway/Business 54.
Estimated cost is $251,000.
Board members tossed other ideas around at the Thursday meeting before Alderman Kevin Rucker made a motion that the board accept the Osage Beach Parkway/Business 54 option.
Business owners along the Expressway have complained since the Expressway opened last year that signage does little to direct traffic off the Expressway and into the business district. As a result, they say, their businesses have suffered as residents and visitors drive down the new highway at 65 and 70 miles per hour past exits.
“The longer we wait to make a decision, the longer it’s going to take. The plainer the signs are, the easier they will be to read. Let’s keep it simple,” one alderman said.
There was some talk of putting Business 54 ahead of Osage Beach Parkway on the signs, but the board ultimately decided not to “fuzzy it up” and leave the Parkway first since businesses have spent money re-branding their business locations based on OB Parkway addresses.
The board also directed MoDOT to configure a new traffic pattern for the area of Lazy Days Road and Key Largo based on a sketch that surfaced in the last couple of weeks.
MoDOT and the city have discussed several ideas to improve traffic flow in that area and at the same time place an emphasis on safety. An idea brought to the table recently caught the attention of not only the city but also MoDOT and west end businesses.
Page 2 of 2 - Cost share could be 50/50 state and Osage Beach.
The goal of the city and businesses is to have an east-west flow of traffic on Osage Beach Parkway west of Rt. KK, but that idea appears to be impractical from a financial perspective and an adequate timeframe. MoDOT says if the design can be accomplished soon, the new configuration could be in place by mid-summer.
The agency is expected to have a formal drawing available at the Oct. 18 meeting.