A major blunder of the design of Highway 54 expressway revealed itself when no fewer than six major accidents plagued the Key Largo intersection with the expressway from the time it opened in Nov. 2011.
While the other exits within the Osage Beach city limits utilize an expressway overpass and exits/entrance ramps, the Key Largo intersection did not, forcing drivers using the intersection to cross directly in front of traffic, where cars passed at about 65 mph. The family of Bertha Sallee claimed an accident at the intersection set in motion health changes that led to an otherwise healthy Bertha's death. On April 28, a fatal accident prompted MoDOT to close the beleaguered intersection while it addressed changes.
The intersection was closed for more than six months while MoDOT looked to redesign the intersection. It fully reopened Nov. 15 and eliminated the left hand turn from Key Largo to westbound Highway 54. A roundabout and extended acceleration lane are planned for the area along with an outer road from Lazy Days Road to Y Road at a cost of more than $1.5 million to the city.