The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 5, 2013

Residents besieged by light, noise, safety issues they say new interchange creates

JOPLIN, Mo. — Steve and Jennifer Davis used to watch sunsets from the back deck of their home.

They enjoyed the privacy that a stand of timber created at the edge of their backyard.

“That’s one of the main reasons we bought this house,” said Jennifer Davis, 2718 N. Missouri Ave.

Now the couple see headlights instead of sunsets. Their elevated deck overlooks a bridge ramp and a drainage ditch that abuts their backyard. They no longer see their own yard as a safe place for their young children to play.

They live next to the $17 million interchange under construction at North Main and Zora streets. The purpose of the interchange is to span Main Street and an adjacent rail line to increase safety by eliminating the train crossing on Veterans Way. The interchange also will eventually link Highway 249 to the west side of Joplin or a future west bypass.

Residents of the neighborhood have asked the city of Joplin for its help in trying to reduce the problems they are experiencing with the encroachment of the interchange.

Fifteen of them met Sunday with Jack Schaller, the city’s assistant public works director. Their appointed spokeswoman, Linda Lawrence, 2806 N. Missouri Ave., also told the City Council about the problems during a meeting Monday night.

“We feel as homeowners and taxpayers we have been deprived of peace, serenity, privacy and safety by the Zora and Main Street bypass,” Lawrence told the council. “In order to restore our privacy, serenity and safety to an acceptable level, we are requesting a noise and safety barrier behind our homes.”

Lawrence told the Globe that safety is a key concern. She said the ramps on the northeast corner of the intersection run so close to the homes of the Davises and others that the neighborhood’s residents fear a careening vehicle might smash into their yards, or worse, their houses.

Additionally, she said, “The noise is horrendous” now that there is no barrier between the houses and the intersection. There is increased traffic noise, and the sound and vibration from passing trains on the railroad line on the west side of Main Street have become a nuisance.

“It is actually to the point the houses feel like they are shaking” when a train passes, she said.

Headlight glare is another issue since the neighborhood’s natural barrier is gone. “Some neighbors say the lights come into their bedrooms at night and they cannot sleep,” Lawrence said.

Residents met last spring with representatives of the city and the Missouri Department of Transportation. They were told there were no plans to provide any safety or noise and light barriers for the neighborhood.

“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 told the council.

The Davises wrote in a letter to the council that “the off-ramp from North Main Street was graded at an angle that will put all vehicle headlights on our home.” They said the problems created by the project have ruined their enjoyment of their home.

Jennifer Davis said she and her husband bought their house in 2010, moving here from Chicago. They were not told anything about the project when they were considering the home’s purchase, even though the city had unveiled design plans for the interchange in 2009. The city had notified the property owners at the time that the project was in the works, but that information was not disclosed to the Davises when they bought the house, she said.

Davis said her neighbors, who were aware of the project, “didn’t have a clear understanding of what they would be doing,” and didn’t realize that the work would bring the road so close to their houses.

City Manager Mark Rohr told the council on Monday night that the city is trying to determine what can be done to abate the problems the residents are experiencing as a result of the project. He said the city will ask MoDOT to help provide a remedy because part of the land involves MoDOT right of way. The city will look at options including the construction of some type of screen or wall between the interchange and Missouri Avenue.

Dan Salisbury, assistant director for MoDOT’s southwest district, said: “We talked to the city staff about that. A longer term solution is to plant some trees. I think both of us understand it’s something we can do, and it’s more of ‘How do we do it?’ at this point,” referring to the collaboration to bring relief to the troubled neighborhood.

Sales tax

THE INTERCHANGE is one of the projects the city linked to a three-eighths-cent capital improvements sales tax approved by voters in August 2004. About $2 million was spent on buying right of way for the project. The city paid $850,000 for one tract of land where the northeast exit ramp was built that has affected the neighborhood on North Missouri Avenue.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screening of MSSU presidential applicants to wrap by end of April

    The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University could be in a position to name a president as early as the end of June, according to a timeline presented Friday by the co-chair of the presidential search committee.

    April 18, 2014

  • Teams from Carl Junction, Diamond advance in Destination Imagination

    Student teams from Carl Junction and Diamond will be traveling to Destination Imagination finals May 20-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., after being top finishers in competition this month at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 18, 2014

  • Neosho Dogwood Tour reset, after false start

    The 53rd annual Neosho Dogwood Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The event, presented by the Neosho Rotary Club and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, originally was scheduled for Sunday, April 13.

    April 18, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pittsburg Farmer's Market to open in new building, new location

    The official market season in Pittsburg, Kan., will kick off in the market’s new pavilion-style building at a new address, 11th and Broadway, on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Market hours will continue throughout the season on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with some Wednesdays or other special days throughout the season as announced.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter