An intersection that has been the focus of fatal accidents and controversy reopened Thursday afternoon, meeting a pledge made to West End Osage Beach business and property owners.
MoDOT workers finished painting and marking the re-modified Key Largo area Thursday morning, and barriers were removed shortly after noon to allow ingress and egress from the Expressway and Osage Beach Parkway.
Motorists can now:
•Make a right turn only onto the eastbound Expressway from Key Largo and the Parkway
•Make a right turn from the eastbound Expressway onto Key Largo and the Parkway
•Make a left hand turn from the westbound Expressway onto Key Largo and the Parkway
What has been eliminated is a left hand turn from Key Largo onto the westbound Expressway.
Key Largo opened as part of the Expressway project last year, and almost immediately was besieged with safety issues. Before MoDOT closed the left-hand turn lane onto the Expressway and later virtually all access to the intersection, two people had died in six accidents.
The fallout by restricting traffic flow on a mostly closed Key Largo, coupled with difficult economic times locally and nationally, was that business and property owners lost any westbound traffic flow from the Parkway.
In the midst of figuring out short-term and long-term solutions to the safety and traffic flow issues, MoDOT told business and property owners it would revamp the Key Largo interchange by extending the acceleration lane for eastbound traffic and re-opening the area.
Originally, the acceleration lane was to extend east from Key Largo a considerable length with an estimated cost of $156,000. However, because a final solution to the problems has not been determined, the re-modified Key Largo area was done at a minimal cost, according to MoDOT Area Engineer Bob Lynch.
The Osage Beach Board of Aldermen recently asked MoDOT to move forward with a three-way ingress and egress interchange including a roundabout at Osage Beach Parkway; and with construction of an outer ramp from near Lazy Days Road to Y Road.
MoDOT has not authorized that concept as yet, nor how the project would be funded.
In the meantime, a group of West End business and property owners has funded the first phase of a multi-phase economic impact study for the area. The group was expected to ask the city Thursday night to help pay for the study.