New interchange in Lake Ozark

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LAKE OF THE OZARKS - The intersection of Highway 54 & Route W could see a $10-$12 million makeover in Fall 2019.

The new intersection will have connector roads, a bridge and ramps to get on-and-off the highway, instead of driving straight onto Highway 54 from a stoplight.

The Missouri Department of Transportation proposed a new intersection to the public at a meeting Thursday night at Heritage Elementary School.

MoDOT said there's been three fatal accidents and around 20 accidents at this intersection in the past five years.

MoDOT said this new intersection will make travel safer and help with the traffic flow. It plans to get rid of the intersection where cars go directly onto Highway 54.

Right now there is a signal at the intersection, "it's the only signal between Camdenton and Kingdom City, so with the project we're looking to remove the signalized intersection and replace it with a grade separated interchange," Troy Hughes, MoDOT Project Manager said.

There will still be four lanes on Highway 54, but there will be a small median dividing east and westbound traffic. The new interchange will be similar to the interchange at Osage Beach Expressway.

The proposed plan is to put a diamond interchange, but not a diverging diamond, "which is a popular thing being built across the state." Hughes said there was a misconception that there would be a diverging diamond interchange. However, "at this point we're not expecting it to be a diverging diamond interchange," Hughes said.

Debra Chaney lives at the Osage National Golf Course and uses Highway 54 often. She said, "that intersection off of 54 is our primary paved route to digress from the subdivision and move into westbound 54 to go into Osage Beach."

Chaney said the meeting was, "helpful and they provided a way for us to make comments on any concerns that we had about the proposed new intersection and new route," Chaney said one of her concerns is, "we need to be able to have easy access to get into the areas we need to do our shopping and so on."

Right now we are just looking at the concept and location of where we got the interchange and getting feedback on that." Hughes said, as they go forward, they will look at what type of interchange they will put there.

"We wanted to ask some questions to make sure that they took into consideration there are permanent residents that need to come in and out of that subdivision, as they plan and begin the construction on the new route," Chaney said.

Hughes said the money for the project is a part of MODOT's money from gas taxes and, "some of the money is designated for a safety project."

Hughes said MoDOT plans to bid for the project in June 2019. "A lot of work to be done before then," Hughes said.

MoDOT plans to start construction in Fall 2019 and the project will completed in Fall 2021.

"It is a concept and once we get feedback from tonight, we will move forward with design, if the feedback is positive we will come back to public with more details in the Spring," Hughes said.