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MoDOT continues to evaluate removal of Jefferson Street turn lane

During the summer, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) announced it was looking at the possibility of removing the turning lane on the west side of the Jefferson Street and Baltimore intersection. (KTVO/Ashley Hoak)

Crumbling and in a state of disrepair - those are the words that best describe the condition of a curb at one Kirksville intersection.

During the summer, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) announced it was looking at the possibility of removing the turning lane on the west side of the Jefferson Street and Baltimore intersection.

MoDOT Northeast District Engineer Paula Gough says the idea came about after the entity noticed the southwest corner of the intersection often falls victim to vehicles hitting the curb when turning.

"We are proposing to consolidate the straight and left turn lane with the right turn lane. So, you'll still be able to make all of those turns. It will be from one single lane."

In July, a MoDOT representative met with members of the Kirksville Airport and Transportation Commission.

That commission gave the plan unanimous approval.

A few months later, MoDOT set up a meeting with Kirksville City Council members during a study session.

At that meeting, council expressed concern over the negative impact the change could have on motorists using Jefferson Street.

Gough says the council worried about the extra wait time at the stop light.

"We are basically trading off a few seconds change in the timing that you may have to wait sometime throughout the day to allow the traffic to flow much better, to allow especially the large semi traffic that is coming from Jefferson and then turning south onto Baltimore to be able to make that movement much more easily as well as not running up on the curb and causing damage to the storm drain over on that corner."

Despite the hesitation from the city, MoDOT owns the right-of-way on the street as well as the traffic signals.

As a result, the agency doesn't need permission from the city to remove or change the turning lane, however it says the feedback and partnership from Kirksville staffers is appreciated.

Gough adds that right now, the change is expected to be made in the spring when the winter weather breaks.

She says a notice will be sent out to the public and the city to inform area residents of the work.

MoDOT will also closely monitor traffic once the change has been made to see if timings on the traffic signals will need altered.

"Just as we do with all of our signals, we will continue to monitor how well traffic flows throughout this intersection after we make the changes. You know, it will take a few days, up to a week or two for people to adjust any time there is a change. But, we will continue to monitor and evaluate the signals effectiveness and delay."

Gough adds that making enchancements to Jefferson Street is part of a bigger plan to better Baltimore Street in the coming years.

"This is just one change that we can go ahead and make immediately at this intersection that is also part of the long term plan to improve Baltimore Street that we have also been working with the city to make those improvements to the curbing and pavements as well as the sidewalks along Baltimore."


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