MoDOT announces changes at Lake of the Ozarks intersection on the 54 Expressway
Originally published July 24, 2012 at 10:06 a.m., updated July 24, 2012 at 10:06 p.m.
OSAGE BEACH — Missouri highway officials on Tuesday agreed to partially reopen the intersection of U.S. 54 and Key Largo, allowing access to nearby businesses while addressing safety issues that came up after the 54 Expressway opened last winter.
Vehicles exiting or entering Key Largo Road resulted in one fatality accident and several injury accidents as the cars attempted to pull into the higher speed traffic on the expressway.
After the fatality accident, MoDOT closed the south side of the intersection so that vehicles could not use Key Largo Road to either cross or drive onto the expressway from Osage Beach Parkway. Instead drivers must use Route KK to enter or cross over the expressway.
Under the plan announced Tuesday, drivers will not be able to make a left turn onto 54 from Osage Beach Parkway, a movement that was causing crashes at the intersection.
MoDOT will also add an eastbound acceleration lane on 54 to give travelers more time to get up to speed when exiting the intersection from the parkway and heading east.
In addition, the speed limit from west of Route KK to west of Route A will be reduced from 65 mph to 60 mph as an added safety measure.
No changes will be made to the nearby Runabout and Spring Valley intersections located on 54.
“We believe the solution we’ve chosen will increase safety, while also taking into consideration the needs of residents and businesses in the area,” said David Silvester, MoDOT Central District engineer.
Silvester said MoDOT would continue to work with local officials and businesses to determine a long-term solution to address the 54 intersections. However, he stressed a lack of funding for transportation projects would prevent the agency from making much progress.
MoDOT officials held an initial meeting on April 25 to get feedback on three proposals to improve safety at the 54 and Key Largo intersection.
Based on feedback from that meeting, MoDOT proposed additional safety improvements to the three intersections on 54 between Routes KK and Y — Key Largo, Runabout and Spring Valley.
The proposal would have allowed traffic to turn right in and right out only at all three intersections.
MoDOT held a second community briefing on June 14 to discuss those proposed changes.
The majority of comments received as a result of that meeting supported dropping the speed limit in that area, but opposed making any changes at Runabout and Spring Valley.
“We didn’t make our decision lightly or in a vacuum,” Silvester said. “We received a great deal of public feedback on our proposed changes and tried to find a solution the community could accept. We realize not everyone will be happy with our decision, but we have a responsibility to make our roadways as safe as we can.”
The new speed limit will go into effect Aug. 1.
Work on the safety improvements at Key Largo will begin in September and is expected to be completed before Thanksgiving.