JOPLIN, Mo. —
So far, I have not met many people who have said they actually like the new diverging-diamond interchange that’s been constructed at Range Line Road and Interstate 44.
In fact, I have met only one person who is truly happy with the new design — Cpl. Dan Haskins, head of the Joplin Police Department’s traffic division. That’s because the design has lived up to its promise of fewer car crashes.
“We’ve only had two since it opened,” he said. “One of them occurred on the first day when a motorist found the whole thing to be too overwhelming.”
The other accident involved a motorcyclist who was fleeing from police but was unaware that the new design had been put in place. Oops!
The motorcyclist “found he could not take those curves at 80 mph,’’ said Haskins.
Haskins said that motorists are having a hard time adjusting to the new design because “it’s so different, so out of the box. People think the person who came up with this idea had to be crazy, but it works. It’s amazing how effective it is.”
The person who came up with the idea, as I recall, is from France. Hmm. Perhaps that is enough said.
Fortunately, the design features plenty of directional arrows and traffic signals to guide us happily on our way. But still, when I go through the interchange, it’s 100 percent defensive driving. I’m watching everybody else in case I encounter someone who is a buffet item or two shy of a full combination platter. Let’s face it, there are a lot of distracted drivers out there who are easily bumfuzzled. That’s the scenario I worry about.
Maybe that’s why there have been so few accidents. Drivers have their guard up the moment they approach the new interchange because they really can’t tell what’s coming at them and from what direction.
What I worry about is a meeting of the minds between the person who came up with the idea for the roundabout and the person who came up with the idea for the diverging-diamond interchange.
Let’s pray these people never cross paths, or else we will be doing upside-down loops on elevated ramps that would rival anything at Silver Dollar City.
Those steel girders going up behind Liberty Bank at 24th Street and South Range Line Road are for the new home of Innovative Objects.
Innovative Objects is the parent company of PILR, Audio Input, Wyerless and now Choice Technology, which it recently acquired.
PILR is experienced in areas of software development, database management, mobile apps, website development, graphic design and marketing. Audio Input offers the latest technology in entertainment, environmental design and installation, multi-room music systems and intelligent lighting. Wyerless provides high-speed Internet to families and businesses in Southwest Missouri, with a focus on rural communities. Choice Technology serves local businesses with communication solutions for telephone, networking and data management fields.
The building, which is scheduled for completion this fall, will be a great place to work because of where it’s located. No other office building in Joplin can boast that its neighbors are Rib Crib, Braum’s, McAlister’s Deli, El Vallarta and KFC.
It’s one of the first doctor offices to relocate and open in connection with what is rapidly becoming the new Mercy Hospital Joplin at 50th Street and Hearnes Boulevard.
Dentist Brett M. Wilson, a Joplin native, has opened a new pediatric dental office, Joplin Pediatric Dentistry, at 5227 S. Main St. He began seeing patients a few weeks ago.
Also in the building are the offices of Dr. Jay Joseph, a general dentist; Dr. Brad Laird, an endodontic specialist; and Dr. Matt Sheffer, an oral surgeon.
Their new building is south of the new hospital and is probably the first of what will be many new office buildings in that area.
OPENING IN OFFING
Kay Jewelers will be the first of three new storefronts to open at the northeast corner of Seventh Street and Range Line Road. The others will be Chipotle Mexican Grill and the Mattress Firm.
Kay will celebrate its return to Joplin with a grand opening from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday. Attendees may enter a drawing to win a $1,000 shopping spree at the jewelry store.
If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, dial 623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 623-8598.