MoDOT is set to break ground on the new 291 Highway/US-50 interchange in Lee's Summit next week.
"This is a big project for MoDOT and the City of Lee's Summit," said Matt Killion, area engineer for MoDOT. "For MoDOT this project checks a lot of boxes. It helps address some safety and congestion issues we have at the interchange, we're able to replace a poor condition bridge and we're also able to add bicycle and pedestrian accommodations across 50 highway along 291."
The current interchange was built in 1969 and MoDOT said it is near the end of its life. The new interchange is suppose to help with congestion in the area and provide a better path for walkers and bicyclists.
"The bicycle and pedestrian facilities will connect the park on the north end and connect to neighborhoods and schools on the south end," said Killion.
The south end of the new interchange will feature a Diverging Diamond Interchange while the north end will have a roundabout that connects Blue Parkway and Jefferson Street.
"The Diverging Diamond aspect works well when you have a lot of left turning traffic on and off the ramps," said Killion. "In this case the predominant movement is northbound to westbound in the morning and the return trip is eastbound to southbound in the evening. So it works really well to accommodate that traffic."
This will be MoDOT's 7th Diverging Diamond Interchange in the Kansas City area.
With Harris Park Community Center close by, the new interchange will feature off-street shared-use trails to help connect pedestrians.
"This is a two year project. One of the advantages of this design is that we are able to perform a lot of the work without impacting traffic. This year much of the work will be done off of the existing bridge, off of the lanes of the highway. Impacts to traffic will be minimal and will be restricted to nighttime and off peak hours. Starting next year we'll have a few lanes closed on 291 throughout the year, but we tried to keep all ramps open and we'll keep lanes open on 291 as much as we can throughout this project."
This $16.02 million project is mostly funded by the City of Lee's Summit and a federal MARC STP grant.
"The city put a measure before voters and they voted to pass bonds to fund the bridge," said Killion. "Definitely kudos to the city for making this a priority and for the citizens for stepping up and securing the bond for the project."
The groundbreaking for the interchange will be held on May 3rd at 2 pm at Harris Park Community Center. If you want to go you are asked to park at the facility and walk to the ceremony by following the trails.
More from MoDOT about the project can be found here.