Lee’s Summit voters supporting bond issue for highway interchange

rpulley@lsjournal.comApril 8, 2014 

Lee’s Summit voters April 8 said yes to a $10 million general bond issue to help finance rebuilding the Missouri 291 south and U.S. 50 Interchange.

The vote was 5,046 to 1,059 at about 82 percent in favor. The no-tax-increase bond issue required a four-sevenths majority to pass.

Under the plan The Missouri Department of Transportation is to contribute $8 million for the improvements estimated to cost $16 million.

The city included an extra $2 million in case there are overruns.

City Engineer Dena Mezger said the improvements are intended to replace the aging Jefferson Street bridge and congestion in the area.

The city and state are sharing costs because Lee’s Summit is asking MoDOT to add improvements beyond the state’s responsibility, she said.

The plan includes a new bridge, a roundabout and a diverging diamond, and include pedestrian/bicycling path for the overpass.

Safety and congestion are primary concerns with the existing interchange, she said.

Last year there were 300 accidents in the area, Mezger said, many of them rear-end collisions or during left turns, accidents that are associated with congestion.

The Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce and the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council each endorsed the bond issue. The improvements will provide better access to about 400 acres of for redevelopment.

Proponents of the bond issue said businesses already located in the corridor are less likely to expand at those sites because of congestion and new businesses won’t choose sites there.

Some deliver companies won’t even serve that area during rush hours.

A new interchange would fix those deficiencies.

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