The City of Lee's Summit, along with it's partners, broke ground Wednesday afternoon on what has been a long-anticipated infrastructure project.
The project is a $16 million is complete reconstruction of one of the City's most congested highway interchanges at the junction of M-291 South and US 50. Wednesday's weather forced the groundbreaking ceremony to move inside the Harris Park Community Center, which sits at the north east corner of the interchange on Blue Parkway.
“This new interchange will help ease congestion through a heavily traveled residential and commercial route while enhancing safety and improving access for pedestrians and cyclists,” said Lee’s Summit Mayor Randy Rhoads. “In addition to improving traffic flow and reducing accidents, the new interchange will increase economic development activity in the surrounding area.”
The City has long sought a plan to fix the heavily congested interchange, which serves as both a gateway to the downtown area, as well as a connector to the southern portion of the city. Lee's Summit Economic Development Council President & CEO Rick McDowell said the reconstructed interchange will serve as a spark for future development in and around the area.
“This project opens up hundreds of acres for commercial development,” McDowell said. “With The Grove mixed-use development to the southeast slated to begin spec industrial construction this year, and Pinetree Plaza shopping center on the northwest quadrant targeted for redevelopment, this new interchange will serve as a gateway to the south side of Lee’s Summit.”
The project, which will feature a diverging diamond interchange, will be funded through a cost-sharing partnership between the City, US Department of Transportation through funds secured by the Mid-America Regional Council and the Missouri Department of Transportation. The City will pay $8 million of the project while the US DOT and MoDOT will each pay $6.8 million and $1.22 million respectively.
The interchange project is schedule for completion in late 2018. MoDOT Area Engineer Matt Killion said construction will be conducted in a way to minimize traffic disruptions and keep the interchange in operation throughout the project. The diverging diamond concept, he said, fits perfectly with the needs of drivers in this area of the community.