The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

September 1, 2012

Wally Kennedy: MoDOT promising doozy of roundabout at 171, 43

By Wally Kennedy
news@joplinglobe.com

JOPLIN, Mo. — The traffic woes at Stone’s Corner, where highways 171 and 43 meet, could be solved by a roundabout.

That’s the plan being floated by the Missouri Department of Transportation. The idea was unveiled to local business leaders and city officials in a meeting last month. It was preceded by a similar meeting in January.

You can see the preliminary design for the project at the Airport Drive Village office, 25150 Demott Drive. There are phone numbers local residents may call to express their opinion about the project and get their questions answered.

The project is to be completed in the summer of 2014.

This roundabout will be a doozy. It’ll have dual lanes, two right-turn lanes and no traffic lights. MoDOT has promised the village that traffic will flow very well through the roundabout.

One village resident said: “Let’s try it. It can’t be any worse than what we have got.’’

This thing reminds me of a MoDOT meeting that was held in January in which the department unveiled its plan to redesign the interchange at Interstate 44 and Range Line Road. Before seeing any of the plans, I asked an engineer: “Don’t tell me you’re going to fix it with a roundabout?’’

Some thought that was funny, others not so much.

I was making light of the observation that roundabouts appear to be MoDOT’s preferred choice these days when it comes to solving traffic problems. If this continues, I think one might legitimately ask whether someone at MoDOT has a case of a roundaboutitis — it’s the feeling you get when you step off a merry-go-round. Dazed and confused.

I’m sure this will work, but it’s the scale of it that seems so challenging. Let’s hope the designers have included a learning curve or two.

GOODWILL TO RETURN

Goodwill Industries is preparing its old site at 2102 S. Range Line Road for the construction of a new building. The old foundation has been cleared away and part of the parking lot has been lifted.

Plans call for the construction of a new building at the rear of the site. Rebuilding will start sometime this year. An opening in the spring is expected.

MPW Engineering, a Tulsa-based engineering firm, will provide the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering services for the new building.

“The new building is a significant improvement over the previous one, which was 40 years old and not designed for Goodwill’s specific operations and use,” said Scott Webb, with MPW Engineering. “The new building will be up-to-date with present codes, including handicap accessibility.”

The pickup trailer for donations has been moved to the parking lot of the former Jim Bob’s Steaks & Ribs, 2040 S. Range Line Road. That trailer still has a steady stream of donors.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site will take place on Thursday.

ROSS HIRING

The new Ross Dress for Less store in the North Point Shopping Center at Seventh Street and Range Line Road is hiring.

Applicants may apply online at www.rossstores.com.

The store’s interior and exterior are nearly complete. An opening cannot be far away.

DENTIST OFFICE OPENS

My Dentist, 1411 S. Range Line Road, has opened in the spot where a Burger King once operated before the tornado.

The company, based in Oklahoma City, Okla., has 40 offices. The local office features a spacious lobby and waiting area, and plenty of parking.

Services include general dentistry, emergencies and walk-ins, extractions, dentures, implants, partials, filings, root canals, crowns, bridges, whitening and cosmetic.

The company says its services are offered at “very competitive prices.’’ Details: joplin@mydentistinc.com or 417-553-7377.

NISSAN OPENS

The new Fletcher Nissan, 2327 S. Range Line Road, had its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday. The dealership and its neighbor to the north, Fletcher Toyota, were rebuilt after the tornado.

These buildings are impressive additions to Range Line.

Speaking of Fletcher, the east end of the former Crown Video building, 3111 S. Range Line Road, has been lopped off. Looking to the east from Range Line, you can get a clear view now of Fletcher Hyundai.



If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, call 623-3480, Ext. 7250; or send an email to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 623-8598.