Most rigorous phase of construction at Airport Drive roundabout - KOAM TV 7

Most rigorous phase of construction at Airport Drive roundabout begins next week

Officials with the Missouri Department of Transportation say crews are gearing up for the most rigorous phase of construction at the Airport Drive roundabout.

"Next week is going to have the most impact to the traveling public," said Jim Conley, Resident Engineer at the MoDOT Joplin Regional Office.

Conley says the traffic signals at the intersection of Route 43 and  Route 171 will be taken down on Monday, July 14th and temporarily replaced with a one lane roundabout.

Crews next week will also begin pouring the center median and laying asphalt, working 24 hours a day.

Today crews installed lights to assist drivers at nighttime and MoDOT says law enforcement officials will also be on hand when the traffic signals are taken down Monday night.

Officials say finding an alternate route is the best option.

"Especially trucks," Conley said.  "Trucks will be able to get through, but it's going to be really tight, so if they can go another route during next week, we'd greatly appreciate it."

Some drivers plan to do just that.

"I'm just going to avoid the whole area because construction is going to be horrible," said Kenny Smith, driver.  "Traffic will be backed up, so I'll just go around."

But for others, it is not easy to avoid.

"I come through here going to work and home everyday," said Amy Dewild, driver.  "I would have to kind of go out of the way, but it might be worth it to do that than to try to go through this mess."

MoDOT plans to have both lanes in the roundabout open in a couple weeks.

But as long as major traffic delays are expected, many drivers say they plan to make the most of it.

"Get over it," said Paul Miller, driver.  "It will be over and done. They'll fix it."

"As long as you know it's coming to an end, I think you're willing to deal with it," said Carla Hearrell, driver.

The project is still slated to be completed by the end of next month, if not sooner.
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