The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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February 28, 2013

Joplin's 20th Street viaduct design proposed

JOPLIN, Mo. — Possible designs for the 20th Street viaduct were displayed Thursday by Joplin city officials and the firm contracted to lay out the project.

The proposed design would use a block retaining wall system as support for the bridge that would carry motorists over the Kansas City Southern Railway Co. tracks. The block design could resemble that used in the construction of the new interchange at Zora and Main streets or the Seventh Street viaduct.

Residents who attended the open house at City Hall said the design looked appropriate, though it will cut off a few streets that intersect with 20th Street.

One business owner talked to the city staff about curbside parking he said his business will lose on New Hampshire Avenue, north of 20th Street. New Hampshire will become a three-lane collector street with a center turn lane intersecting with the foot of the viaduct. Public Works Director David Hertzberg requested that the business owner’s concern be listed on the session’s survey form so that it could be addressed in the future.

The viaduct will be 2,000 feet long from east of Indiana Avenue to New Hampshire Avenue. It will be a four-lane bridge with lanes on both sides designated for pedestrians and bicyclists. It will be about 30 feet tall with a clearing height of 23.5 feet for trains passing beneath it. It will close direct access to 20th Street from Wisconsin, Michigan and Kansas avenues.

Mark Kenneally of TranSystems Corp. in Kansas City, the design firm, said elements of the design would be reminiscent of the Union Depot building since the viaduct spans a Kansas City Southern Railway line and the depot was once used by that railroad as a passenger station.

Members of both the design firm and the city’s public works staff were on hand to answer questions. They asked those who attended to fill out comment forms.

The forms asked residents to note the materials and block design they preferred, asked whether the streets that will be cut off should end in cul-de-sacs or hammerheads, and asked about any impact the project will have on properties if they own any along the route.

People were asked to designate on the form whether they live in the affected area or have a business there, and whether they travel on the street much.

Kenneally said the questions help designers put into context the input they receive.

“People get concerned about the time frame (of the construction) as well as what to do if they disagree with the price (offered for right of way)” and other details, he said.

“People also are concerned about property impacts,” Kenneally said, such as whether the project will require driveways to be relocated or will eliminate street parking, and how it reroutes traffic.

A timeline presented at the open house shows that preliminary plans are to be completed in March, and public meetings are to be held from April to June regarding the preliminary plans. Right-of-way acquisition is planned for April through September. Final design is to be complete in the fall, with construction bidding taking place in October and November.

Kenneally’s firm will compile the comments made on the forms and send a report on them to the city in about a week.

“I think overall the sense I got from talking to people was that they were happy with the project,” Kenneally said.

Construction is to start in January and is projected to take a year. The designated detour will reroute traffic onto Main Street or Connecticut Avenue to 15th Street.

The viaduct is expected to cost about $8 million. Part of the funding will come from a federal grant.

On the Net

DOCUMENTS AND DESIGN DETAILS presented at the open house will be posted within a day or two on the city’s website, www.joplinmo.org.

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