Osage Beach aldermen rejected the latest set of Key Largo offers from MoDOT and voted unanimously last week to move forward with a letter writing campaign to elected and state officials urging them to make major changes to traffic flow at the west end of the city.
Mayor Penny Lyons noted that the city had received a letter from David Silvester, MoDOT district engineer, addressing the city’s concerns and proposals. She asked the board to consider the options for further discussion at the regular Jan. 17 meeting.
However, the board was quick to react to the mayor’s request and the MoDOT letter.
“I don’t see anything new here,” Alderman John Olivarri said. “These proposals are deteriorating from previous offers.”
He said he felt MoDOT’s letter was “going in the wrong direction,” adding “I don’t know why we’re wasting time looking at these.” He considered the MoDOT letter “a negative response” and added that he did not think the city should “waste time” responding to MoDOT.”
Alderman Kevin Rucker agreed with Olivarri’s comments that the letter was a negative response to the city’s intentions, and offered the motion to reject MoDOT’s letter and to begin the letter writing campaign.
In November, aldermen formally asked that MoDOT begin work on a slip ramp concept near the Key Largo area, provide eastbound movement onto the Expressway before Rt. KK for Lazy Days Road residents and that MoDOT pay for all of the associated costs.
But the MoDOT letter said the state had reviewed those options and asked the city to consider one of its options, one of which was to “do nothing and use the (Key Largo) intersection as it is today.”
Other options from MoDOT
•To consider a Nov. 12 proposal in which MoDOT asked the city to consider either the slip ramp/roundabout connector project or the outer road project. There would be a 50/50 cost share partnership between the city and MoDOT.
•To build and leave in place both the slip ramp/roundabout connector project. This is a project previously approved by the board, the letter stated, and funding would require a 50/50 cost share. Initial estimates include $800,000 for the slip ramp/roundabout connector, and $3.2 million for the out road project. Both the city and MoDOT would be responsible for $2 million of the cost.
“We believe these proposals maximize safety and promote economic development along the corridor,” the letter stated.
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Six accidents including two related fatalities occurred at the Key Largo intersection with the Expressway in the months after the Expressway was opened. At the same time, with the Osage Beach Parkway dead-ended by the project near Lazy Days Road, west end businesses began to feel the loss of thru-traffic. Many businesses closed and real estate values between Rt. KK and Lazy Days Road plummeted.
A contingency of west end business and property owners too their concern to the board of aldermen and several months of discussions and negotiations have ensued.
In many of the early discussions with MoDOT, there was discussion of a one-third/one-third/one-third cost share involving the city, MoDOT and other sources. That option apparently has changed.
Alderman Lois Farmer summed up the feeling of many board members and property owners when she said last week, “it’s their mess and they should fix it, and we shouldn’t have to spend a dime.”