It took a little parliamentary maneuvering, but the Osage Beach Board of Aldermen endorsed yet another Key Largo/West End plan for MoDOT’s consideration.
Alderman Steve Kahrs, a leading proponent of finding a permanent solution to economic, safety and traffic flow issues at the west end of Osage Beach, offered three motions during last week’s board meeting. Two were approved, and the other was withdrawn so wording could be clarified and the motion offered again.
Aldermen finally approved a motion to submit to MoDOT an informal rendering of a plan that MoDOT apparently designed several weeks ago as a slip ramp option for revamping the Key Largo intersection. The motion included a request for a traffic control device for safety and a J-turn to accommodate eastbound traffic from Lazy Days. The motion asked MoDOT to complete the work at its expense and to start the project immediately.
Kahrs said this would be a short-term fix before a long-term solution is designed.
“This isn’t a fix,” he said. “This is something to control traffic and then we can look at getting something long-term. We just need to get traffic back on the Parkway.”
He said the “west entrance (to the city) is an unfriendly way to come into the city.”
The latest option is slightly different from a slip ramp design adopted by the city several weeks ago that included a roundabout in the center to help control traffic.
Kahrs' original motion was revamped to include a traffic control device for safety and J-turn to improve traffic flow at Lazy Days after Aldermen Fred Catcott called the original design “way out to lunch.” He insisted that a final design provide residents of Lazy Days Road with a westbound exit.
Alderman John Olivarri pushed for safety features, noting he was not opposed to the design but wanted some “performance of safety” included.
“Something has to happen,” Kahrs said. “We’re not going to make everybody happy. That’s not really our goal here. We just need something to move forward.”
Kahrs, reflecting what other board members have said for several months, said “MoDOT created the problem and should fix the problem.”
“I agree with Steve,” Alderman Lois Farmer said. “They made this mess and they need to clean it up!”
During the discussion, Alderman Kevin Rucker made a point, with agreement from the city engineer, that there will not be any type of traffic signals on the Expressway. Several individuals and business owners have pushed for that, but Rucker noted that MoDOT has repeatedly stated the agency will not install stop and go signals on the Expressway.
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Kahrs’ other motion was to set in place an option if MoDOT doesn’t like the latest design idea.
Aldermen agreed 5-1 that the city staff begin a letter writing campaign to the governor’s office and lake-area legislators to ask them to intervene on the city’s behalf.
Rucker, who cast the only no vote, said he was reluctant to reveal the city’s next move if MoDOT turns the city down.