The Jasper County Commissioners voted on Tuesday to make the intersection of Fir Road and Lone Elm Road south of Carl Junction into a four-way stop as one way to try to cope with the traffic that will be diverted to Fir Road when the Center Creek bridge on Highway 171 is closed for replacement on May 30.
The Missouri Department of Transportation says a contractor will close Missouri Highway 171 on the west side of Jasper County between Airport Drive Village and Carl Junction on the week of May 29 to replace the bridge over Center Creek.
The city of Carl Junction and Jasper County Commissioners have been discussing ways to cope with the flood of traffic that will likely hit county roads when this vital link between Carl Junction, Pittsburg, Kansas and other areas and Joplin is severed.
The Jasper County Commissioners voted on Tuesday to make the intersection of Fir Road and Lone Elm Road south of Carl Junction into a four-way stop as one way to try to cope with the traffic.
Carl Junction Police Chief Delmar Hasse spoke in favor of that change at Tuesday's regular meeting.
“We're concerned about traffic out there for a lot of reasons,” Haase said. “There's a lot of traffic out there already, Lone Elm and Fir generates most of our wrecks in that area and we only have half that intersection, the Patrol works the other half.
“I don't know what this project is going to do to us honestly, I think this is a start, but everyone in the downtown area, and there's 3,000 people who live there, are either going to have to go out JJ into Joplin or they're going to have to hit Joplin Street. I think habit will make them go to Joplin Street and I don't know what it's going to do to the traffic flow there.”
MoDOT said a signed detour will get drivers around the bridge project by using Missouri Route 43 and Missouri Route 96. Other state routes in the area available for use by drivers to avoid the work zone include Missouri Route 126 and U.S. Route 160 in Barton County, and Jasper County Routes Z and JJ.
MoDOT said the bridge will be closed at noon, Tuesday, May 30, weather permitting.
The project will replace the current bridge on Highway 171 built in 1955 with a new, wider structure.
Contractor crews will tear down the existing bridge and build the new bridge in the same location. It’s expected Highway 171 will remain closed until fall.
The contractor for the $2.65 million project, Capital Paving and Construction LLC, Jefferson City, is required by the contract to finish the project by Dec. 1, but MoDOT said they expect the bridge will be reopened by fall.