Highway engineers estimate it could cost $500,000 to redesign dangerous intersections along U-S 61 through Palmyra, Missouri.
At the intersections of Ross, Thompson, Main and Leeser Road, cars continuously merge onto the highway from all directions. The Missouri Department of Transportation says that's a huge safety issue. It held a public hearing Tuesday afternoon to present information on changes and hear from the public.
"As it is now, we have crossing maneuvers. Drivers have to look in several directions in order to make a certain decision on whether or not it's safe enough to make a certain move.So our goal is to limit driver workloads and what they have to look for while driving," said Chris Knapp, the transportation project manager with MoDOT.
The intersection at 61 and Ross Street, in particular, has seen several fatal accidents in past years. Palmyra Police Chief Eddie Bogue says the intersection has 42 conflict points. The city in general has 106.
"The safety issue is always a problem when you have a vast number of conflict points and those need to be addressed," said Chief Bogue.
A redesign of the intersections could completely restrict civilian crossovers of U-S 61 from one side to another, allowing for right turns in and out of town, but very few lefts, and some acceleration lanes in the median.
KHQA spoke with many residents who aren't sure they like MoDOT's plan.
"I'm glad they're trying to fix it , but it's just gonna hurt us," said Carol Walton, a Palmyra business owner. " We'll miss a lot of customers that are coming through. They're not going to go out of their way, they'll just go on."
"The 'Main Crossing' is my main concern. I own a motel right off 61. The one good thing is that they can enter from both directions, but can't leave going Southbound. I have a lot of workers and residual customers and we're concerned for our revenue," said Sonny Trivedi, a motel owner in Palmyra.
After speaking to many concerned residents, we asked city leaders whether an overpass at these intersection would be an option.
"An overpass is still a possibility, but it needs a lot of research to see if it will solve the problem," said Chief Bogue.
For now, MoDOT's asking for everyone's advice and should come to a final decision in the next few months. Anyone still wishing to voice their opinion has till the end of the month.