A busy intersection north of Carl Junction is slated for major changes and the Missouri Department of Transportation is holding a meeting next week to tell the public what’s in store.
The meeting is slated for 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday in the commons area of Carl Junction High School, 206 S. Roney St.
The topic will be a plan to reconfigure the intersection of Missouri Highways 171 and 96, and county Route YY just north of Carl Junction, changing it from a four-way stop to a multilane roundabout.
Mike Garrett, a rural Jasper County farmer who uses the intersection frequently to move farm equipment and travel to events at Carl Junction schools, said something needs to be done to improve the intersection, but he’s not sure a roundabout is the answer.
“I think a roundabout there may create more of a bottleneck that might slow traffic,” Garrett said. “I’ll be at the meeting to learn more about their plans, but a roundabout would have to be huge to let the big trucks and farm equipment that use it pass through there. I think it needs more lanes and longer turn lanes to handle all the traffic.”
MoDOT says the current interchange is dangerous and has a history of crashes.
On Dec. 22, 2010, a tractor-trailer traveling east and carrying a load of power boats scraped bottom on the tracks at the intersection and was hit by a train. The driver of the truck escaped without injury by jumping out of his truck just before impact.
“The existing intersection is located immediately adjacent to the Kansas City Southern Railway tracks, which parallel Missouri Highway 171,” MoDOT said. “Vehicles, especially large semis and farm equipment, approaching from the west on Jasper County Route YY often must sit across the railroad tracks while waiting for a gap in traffic on Route 171, causing a significant safety concern for both the traveling public and KCS trains. The project will increase the space between the railroad tracks and Route 171, improving safety.”
MoDOT said the meeting will be “come-and-go style,” with no formal presentation planned. Maps, photographs and information will be available about this project which will have serious impacts on traffic through the area in the summer of 2021
“For much of the construction of the new intersection and roundabout, drivers will be able to travel along the existing roads,” MoDOT said in a written release. “However, at times it will be necessary to close the roads. At those times, drivers will be directed to use signed detours along Missouri Highway 43 and Jasper County Routes KK, YY and Z.”
Maps show traffic will be detoured through the city of Carl Junction on county Route Z (Pennell Street) for part of the construction project.
The project also includes repaving 14 miles of Highway 171 between the Missouri/Kansas state line and Fir Road, about half a mile south of the 96-171-YY intersection.
MoDOT estimates the cost of the project at about $4.2 million.