Traffic backed up all the way down the highway and causes long waits and irritation. Road construction might be annoying, but there are efficient detours for students to follow. Road work is necessary to keep roads and bridges safe. There are many areas in Lee’s Summit that are under construction. Most road construction ends in November, and starts back up again in the spring. Road projects improve capacity, increase safety, and support additional growth in the community.

“Most of the major road construction going on right now is under the direction of MoDOT, not the City,” city traffic engineer Michael Park said.

MoDOT owns, constructs, improves, and maintains the state highway and interstate system in Lee’s Summit, but sometimes the City and MoDOT partner on projects that impact the highway or interstate system.

“The interchange construction at Blackwell Road and US 50 Highway AND the interchange construction at M-291 Highway and US 50 Highway are both MoDOT construction projects with City coordination and financing partnerships, and MoDOT is also performing some major bridge rehabilitation/replacement projects along Colbern Road over M-291/I-470, along I-470 over View High Drive, and recently completed similar bridge work at Colbern Road over 350 Highway,” Park said.

Road construction is a necessary thing happening all around the city.

“MoDOT is improving the M-291 corridor north of US 50 Highway with some maintenance, signal installation at Deerbrook, and traffic signal coordination enhancements,” Park said.

There is also some private work along Ward Road, north of Chipman Road, in association with the adjacent land development.

“The interchange at Blackwell Road and US 50 will improve access to area residents, improve safety along the highway through the connection of frontage roads and elimination of highway crossovers at Smart Road, Milton Thompson, etc. ,and reduce congestion at Todd George Parkway interchange and US 50 Highway,” Park said.

The interchange at Blackwell also intends to support additional economic activity upon adjacent land annexed into the City.

“This interchange has been long-planned for over 40 years and should be completely done within the next month,” Park said.

The interchange is designed with several roundabouts.

“The interchange at US 50 and M-291 South Junction will replace the existing interchange with more capacity and safer intersections,” Park said.

The interchange will have a diverging diamond configuration with a roundabout at Jefferson Street and Blue Parkway intersection.

“The MoDOT bridge work is necessary due to the age and condition of existing bridges,” Park said.

The bridges needed significant work to remain safe in the long run.
“The Ward Road project will result in an additional two lanes of traffic, a divided 4-lane parkway,”  Park said.

The additional lanes are needed to support nearby growth.

“There is a short detour in place for the Ward Road project, that detour uses Innovation Parkway,” Park said.
All of the MoDOT bridge maintenance can be done without detour of traffic.

“The interchange work at Blackwell has had a detour in place using Todd George Parkway and Langsford Road for the closure of Blackwell Road at Shenandoah, which should be opened shortly,” Park said.

Detours take more time to drive than original routes.

“The interchange work at M-291 Highway may have some limited closures to the frontage roads (Blue Parkway and Oldham Parkway) as well as periodic ramp closures in the future,” Park said.

Detour routes for these closures will use the M-291 North Junction near the High School, Bailey Road and Hamblen Road.

“The City and State avoid disruptive detours through neighborhoods where conflict between vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. is more prevalent and the local roads were not intended to accommodate highway or arterial traffic volumes,” Park said.

Students should follow assigned detours.

“The maintenance projects should ensure the roads and highways remain available for use many more years to come,” Park said.

Plenty of road constructions areas do not need detours to be worked on, but there are specific detours students should follow if they need to. Road construction is needed to make sure roads, bridges, and highways remain safe.

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