The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 17, 2013

Proposed design of 20th Street viaduct to be unveiled

City to hold open house for residents to view plan

By Debby Woodin
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin residents will be able to see a preliminary design of the East 20th Street viaduct at an open house planned by the city.

The preliminary design plans will be on display from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28.

City staff members will be on hand to answer questions about the project and its design. Residents who own adjoining properties may discuss with the city staff how the proposed project will affect their properties.

The viaduct is an $8 million project that is to be partly funded by a $12 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant from the Federal Highway Administration.

City officials have long planned the construction of some type of overpass on 20th Street to end delays caused by passing trains.

Joplin’s location as a regional employment and trade center brings heavy traffic to the city during the day, and that puts a strain on emergency responders trying to get through the city to answer calls and take people to hospitals, according to the grant application.

That impediment would increase in the next 20 years as Kansas City Southern Railway Co. has projected that train traffic will increase from 15 trips through the city a day to 29 as demand for rail transportation rises. Traffic accidents, and related injury and property loss, also could increase. Accidents on streets around the site have an injury rate of 28 percent, compared with 20 percent for the rest of the city, according to the grant application.

The TIGER grant also will be used to pay for work to widen Schifferdecker Avenue, Maiden Lane, and 26th Street from McClelland Boulevard to Schifferdecker Avenue. The city had been setting aside money from two sales taxes — the three-eighths-cent capital projects tax and the half-cent transportation tax — toward the projects.

According to the grant documents, the city has allocated about $5.4 million of those sales tax funds toward the projects that could be used to match the federal grant and $200,000 in state funds.

Those projects will provide better traffic flow to heavily used parts of the city such as the medical district, city officials have said.

According to the city’s grant application, 20th Street is one of the corridors that became choked with traffic after the May 2011 tornado, creating delays in reaching hospitals and providing other emergency services.

Meeting place

The meeting on Feb. 28 will be held in the third-floor conference room at City Hall, 602 S. Main St.