Fulton State Hospital construction could cause traffic issues

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FULTON- Changes could come to one busy intersection in Fulton. 

The consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff is in early discussion with MoDOT to install a temporary stoplight at the intersection of Wood Street and Route O. 

According to Parson Brinckerhoff vice-president Tom Brooks-Pilling, the stoplight will serve to alleviate the increased traffic of up to 500 new workers in the area due to construction starting on the new Fulton State Hospital.

Route O in Fulton is home to several important businesses for the city. Along with the state hospital, it is home to the Callaway County Jail and is near the Missouri School for the Deaf.

"We have a lot of traffic at O in the mornings and certainly in the afternoons at around 3:30 or so," Fulton Police Chief Steve Myers said. "It's pretty congested."

Myers said other issues with construction could be parking. 

"I think we could have some parking issues up in the residential areas up by the areas surrounding the construction site," Mysers said. "That's been an issue talked about by some of the residents." 

Many of the residents KOMU-8 talked to seemed to not show the same concerns about the construction and were just happy the hospital was finally receving an upgrade. 

"I think it's long overdue," Fulton resident Gemma Fickess said. "I happened many years ago to be in the Biggs building to assist with something and it was horrible then. I can't even imagine what it's like now."

Fickess has lived in Fulton for 42 years and since that time has seen the hospital undergo some changes, with a few she didn't agree with. 

"I was sorry when some years ago they tore down some of the older buildings because I felt we should've let them be there to show people how we used to treat the people we called insane because they sort of looked like an asylum," Fickess said. 

So while Fickess said the construction could slow her down, she doesn't mind. 

"It might be a hassle for a while, but it's for a good purpose," Fickess said.

Abatement and demolition of unused buildings is set to begin this spring, kicking off construction on the hospital. 

The new hospital is currently aniticpated for a December 2017 completion date.