The proposed change includes the construction of a new connector road and new overpass bridge several hundred feet farther south on US 54, eliminating the crossover intersection at Route W and adding three new ramps in the vicinity.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is seeking Lake area residents’ feedback on proposed safety improvements for the intersection of US 54 and Route W with the goal of reducing accidents and stabilizing traffic flows through the area.

A commonly traveled tourist thoroughfare, the intersection leads to Bagnell Dam or Lake Ozark’s North Shore and also onward to Osage Beach, Camdenton and Sunrise Beach.

The roughly $10-12 million project is scheduled to be bid in the summer of 2019 with construction, estimated to take roughly two years, tentatively scheduled to start in the fall of 2019, according to MoDOT.

The proposed change includes the construction of a new connector road and new overpass bridge several hundred feet farther south on US 54, eliminating the crossover intersection at Route W and adding three new ramps in the vicinity.

Osage Hills Rd. is proposed to be realigned while a new intersection would be built on Bagnell Dam Blvd. near the entrance to Willmore Lodge, and the current intersection near Rick’s C-Store would be re-built. Initial estimates indicate MoDOT will require the acquisition of 15 to 25 acres of land. Based on the current timeline, right of way acquisitions plans should be available by next summer.

According to MoDOT Central District Project Manager Troy Hughes, the proposed changes have more to do with safety and dynamics of the particular intersection than exceeding roadway traffic capacity counts.

With cars traveling from 50 to 65 miles per hour, Hughes said the potential for head-on collisions involving stopped or slowed traffic waiting to turn is of great concern to transportation safety officials.

“That differential and speed, plus there is a lot of traffic,” Hughes said. “That’s kind of driving this project.”

According to MoDOT data, there are currently 42 total conflict points at the intersection. A conflict point is any space where two vehicles could potentially collide on intersecting paths. Analyzing data from January 1, 2012, to January 1, 2017, MoDOT reported one fatal accident, two minor injury accidents, and 17 property damage accidents.

MoDOT held an open forum public meeting last week where citizens offered comments on the proposal. Another public meeting is expected to be held next spring. Hughes said comments were mostly positive, though some residents were concerned with increased noise from moving the intersection and realigning roads.

“People support the interchange and the option that we presented at the meeting. In general, everyone was supportive,” Hughes commented. “We met with a citizens advisory group, 20 or so people, and discussed the pros and cons of three different options prior to the public meeting. We also talked with Fire Chief Amsinger, police, county, and city officials, business owners, everybody in those groups were supportive of the option we presented.”

MoDOT will start the design of the preliminary plans, conduct environmental surveys, begin geotechnical investigations and develop proposed intersection types based on the the traffic data that has been collected, according to its website.

A public response survey is available at http://www.modot.org/central/major_projects/documents/CommentForm-Miller54andWMeeting.pdf