Airport Drive roundabout drives discussion

A construction plan to build a two-lane roundabout on Airport Drive is driving some discussion.
In fact, there was not a spare seat in the house during a public meeting tonight with MoDOT.
Those who travel through the intersection of Route 43 and Route 171 known as Stone’s Corner know about the high volume of traffic.
“I’m concerned about this project and am very much in favor of it because of the congestion we get early in the morning and in the evening,” said Charles Surgi, Webb City resident.
The two-lane roundabout aims to relieve that congestion.
The project also includes extra lanes for some to bypass the roundabout when turning right and Highway 171 will be expanded to four lanes west to Fir Road.
“There will be a period of time when people are learning how it works, but I think that will be short lived and there will be a drastic improvement from before to after,” said Dan Salisbury, MoDOT Assistant District Engineer.
MoDOT officials hope the roundabout will reduce the number of fatalities.
“With an intersection, people are always subject to the T-bone type crashes and that’s where people get seriously injured or even killed,” Salisbury said. “In this type of configuration, the type of crash that is more prevalent is a side swipe, which is a lot less severe.”
Some are concerned that the new medians will affect access to businesses and school bus routes by no longer allowing left turns in certain places.
It also brings along safety concerns.
“Our school buses and I think Webb City and Joplin school buses will all be using this roundabout during construction, so that’s really a concern on safety,” said Gary Stubblefield, Carl Junction Chamber of Commerce.
“They have their good points and bad points,” said James McBride, Webb City resident. “If people used them for the way they’re supposed to be used, they’d be fine, but at the same time, if you misuse, there are going to be problems.”
As for businesses in the area, many are hoping for the best.
“My approach is to just wait and see and hope for the best because no one knows how it’s going to impact things,” said Chad Isaacs, owner of Stone’s Corner Pharmacy.
They’ll begin to see that impact soon.
Construction is set to begin in april.
Officials expect the heaviAprilonstruction to be underway in July.
The project is expected to be finished by September.