The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 8, 2013

Our View: Buffer needed

The Joplin Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Transportation’s indifference to a neighborhood that has been greatly affected by an interchange under construction at North Main and Zora streets is troubling — especially at a time when MoDOT says it really needs an increased revenue source for future highway maintenance and expansion.

We’re hopeful that the city of Joplin will have better success persuading MoDOT to supply noise and light barriers — something that should have been part of the interchange plan all along.

 Residents living next to the $17 million interchange, which when complete will span Main Street and an adjacent rail line and eventually link Highway 249 to the west side of Joplin or a future west bypass, have been left without both space and trees that protected them from the noise of traffic and trains.

 Yet early on when the neighborhood residents approached MoDOT, they were told there were no plans to provide any safety or noise and light barriers for the neighborhood.

Linda Lawrence, speaking on behalf of the residents, on Monday told the Joplin City Council: “This demonstrates an unacceptable level of understanding of our residents’ intrusion of traffic noise, light and danger on the ramp at the rear of our homes.”

Lawrence is absolutely correct, and no one should understand the full impact of the new intrusions like MoDOT.

The city and the state are now looking at some type of collaboration. City Manager Mark Rohr has assured the residents that the city will look at options including the construction of a screen or wall between the interchange and Missouri Avenue.

That’s all well and good, but those types of assurances should have been made upfront by MoDOT.

 Linda Lawrence and her neighbors who live on North Missouri Avenue — taxpayers, by the way — should have received solutions almost a year ago when the group met to discuss the need for barriers for the neighborhood.

Let’s hope they soon will be afforded some peace and quiet.