Reconstruction of the 40-year-old bridge and interchange at Route 291 South and U.S. 50 in Lee's Summit has been a long-standing priority for the business community.
Its bottlenecks and congestion actually led Chip Moxley, owner of Tingle Flooring, to choose a location farther north for his headquarters. Going through the site selection process enlightened Moxley that prosperity for south Lee's Summit would be held hostage until the intersection was improved. As a result, Moxley joined forces with the Gateway Business Alliance to lobby for public awareness and investment in transportation projects.
"This interchange is among the most important initiatives we have undertaken, and it is hugely gratifying to finally break ground on this project," Moxley said at the recent groundbreaking for the $16 million, taxpayer-funded diverging diamond project, which includes reconstruction of the Route 291 overpass bridge and an adjacent roundabout.
The interchange won't be completed until late 2018, but Lee's Summit Economic Development Council President and CEO Rick McDowell said its benefits from a business recruiting standpoint are immediate.
"This project opens up hundreds of acres for commercial development," McDowell said. "With The Grove mixed-use development to the southeast slated to begin spec industrial construction this year, and Pinetree Plaza shopping center on the northwest quadrant targeted for redevelopment, this new interchange truly will serve as a new gateway to the south side of Lee's Summit."
The interchange also will help ease congestion through a heavily traveled residential and commercial route while enhancing safety and improving access for pedestrians and cyclists, according to Lee's Summit Mayor Randall Rhoads.
Radmacher Brothers Construction based in Pleasant Hill, Mo., is providing general construction services for the project, and GBA Architects and Engineers of Lenexa, Kan. provided engineering and design services. Additional project partners include the Lee's Summit Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Lee's Summit Main Street, and Friends of Lee's Summit.
The interchange is funded through a three-part cost sharing agreement, with the City of Lee's Summit paying $8 million; the US Department of Transportation paying $6.8 million through funds secured through the Mid-America Regional Council; and the Missouri Department of Transportation paying the remaining $1.22 million.