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Friday, June 14, 2013
Ribbon cutting opens Joplin North Main/Zora interchange
(From the City of Joplin)
Members of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors joined officials with the Missouri Department of Transportation, City of Joplin, Jasper City, and Joplin Special Road District, along with community leaders and the public in a ribbon cutting event today to commemorate the opening of the new interchange at North Main Street (Route 43) and Zora Street.
Work on this interchange began in February 2012 to connect two sections of Zora Street by bridging over the railroad tracks just west of Main Street. Designed to improve east-west traffic flow on Zora Street, this interchange provides a bypass for travelers across Joplin's north side. The bypass provides travelers a connection from Missouri Highway 249 to the east, and to Route 66 on the west side. This serves as a first step in connecting to the West Bypass, proposed to follow portions of County Road 290.
Corridors to the west of this interchange are being developed by Joplin Special Road District and Jasper County to provide connection to North Schifferdecker. This work includes a three-lane road connecting Zora Street west of Main Street to Jasper County’s Peace Church Road. Traffic going south on Peace Church will then connect to the intersection of North Schifferdecker Road and Belle Center Road.
“This project demonstrates how agencies working together can make a difference to improve our community,” said Joplin Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean. “With this new interchange, we not only create more efficient traffic flow, but we now have a gateway to the west that will provide opportunities for continued growth in this area.”
With this new interchange, traffic flow moving north and south on Highway 43 will now access Zora Street via on and off exit ramps. This traffic design removes two traffic signals along Main Street, one at Zora Street and one at Veterans Way. In addition, Veterans Way will be closed permanently, eliminating traffic traveling through an on-street railroad crossing located near the intersection of Veteran’s Way and Main Street.
"Traffic will flow better and drivers will be safer because of the Zora and Main interchange," MoDOT/Southwest District Engineer Becky Baltz said. "We at MoDOT were glad to partner with the City of Joplin on the project. We have a long history of collaboration, and we are committed to continuing that relationship on future projects."
The project was initiated by the City of Joplin through the Capital Improvements Sales Tax that voters passed in 2004. Lehman Construction of California, Mo., was the prime contractor. Project cost was $10 million, with MoDOT paying $1 million, and the City paying $3.2 million of the project. Funding from the federal level includes $5.8 million, which was secured by former U.S. Senator Jim Talent.
“The City thanks everyone involved, including our citizens, to help make our roads safer” said Colbert-Kean. “With their support of the capital improvements sales tax, we have completed numerous projects to improve our roads to provide safe and efficient travel through Joplin.”