General traffic of South Campbell and James River Freeway. (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

On a busy afternoon, it can take three stoplight cycles to make it through the intersection of South Campbell Avenue and Republic Road. Improvements are coming — sometime in the next two years.

The Springfield City Council held the first reading of a bill with a contract agreement with Capital Paving and Construction for $5.36 million. Capital Paving and Construction will widen Republic Road to five lanes and add turn lanes to the intersection of Republic Road and South Campbell. The council will consider the contract for final passage when it meets July 11.

The contractor is anticipated to receive notice to proceed Aug. 1. The final completion date is Nov. 1, 2024. Springfield Director of Public Works Dan Smith acknowledges that the work will take a while.

“Because we are coordinating it with the MoDOT project, we have given the contractor flexibility to put the timing of the intersection construction at such point in the overall project as it would make the most sense for minimizing overall impacts,” Smith said.

The actual intersection work at Campbell and Republic will take less than a year.

“I can’t tell you today when they will start our part of the project,” Smith said. “Once they do start the intersection, they have just over nine months to complete that portion of the project.”

Working together, saving money

The city of Springfield has an intergovernmental agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission to share the cost of improvements to the intersection of Republic Road and South Campbell Avenue. The Missouri Department of Transportation is improving U.S. Highway 60, or the James River Freeway, and so the intersection widening will coincide with the nearby highway improvement.

“Back in April, we talked about bidding this project together with MoDOT’s project on James River Freeway to widen it out to six lanes, and so that the two projects could be constructed in a way to minimize traffic impacts, maximize safety, and hopefully get some overall project savings at the same time,” Smith said.

The intersection at South Campbell and James River Freeway. (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

Springfield’s map and database of traffic studies show that 58,688 cars passed through the intersection in a single day in September 2018. Zone 3 Councilman Mike Schilling knows what it feels like to be one driver among thousands, recounting an experience he had on Campbell Avenue that involved more stopping than going at Republic Road.

“I was at a meeting at the Library Center down there, and I got back on Campbell northbound,” Schilling said, adding that it was about noon. “There was all this traffic coming from the south, and I thought, ‘Is there some big event getting out somewhere down there?’ and I think it took me three light changes to get through the intersection going northbound,” Schilling said.

The councilman said he spent more time stopped at lights than he spent in a moving vehicle on his trip home.

The addition of more turn lanes to the intersection of Campbell and Republic is part of an overall $27 million project to improve traffic in the area of Campbell Avenue, Republic Road and U.S. Highway 60. Springfield has a 50/50 cost-share agreement with MoDOT for part of the work. It also has a surface transportation block grant that pays for 80 percent of the intersection work. Most of Springfield’s total share of $3.1 million is funded through its ⅛-cent transportation sales tax.

The traffic signals at Campbell and Republic and where Republic Road intersects with the driveway for the Chase Card Services complex will be upgraded.

Republic Road will be widened to five lanes from Fairview Avenue to the Chase building driveway, and bicycle lanes will be added. Springfield Director of Public Works Dan Smith said Republic Road will span two lanes running east and west and a center turn lane from end to end when the work is done.

“This is the last piece, so that’s all very good news,” Smith said.

The project scope also calls for sidewalks, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) crossings for pedestrians at intersections and stormwater containment work. 

A Google Map with an illustrated overlay shows where lanes will be added at the intersection of South Campbell Avenue and Republic Road near U.S. Highway 60 in Springfield. (Illustration by Springfield Department of Public Works)

Early morning sugar rush

Zone 4 Councilman Matthew Simpson brought up what he called “the pastry pileup” a traffic issue that occurs when Springfield residents hit two breakfast stops on South Campbell Avenue in the morning.

“We have a Dunkin Donuts just north of South Avenue there, and Panera just south, and it is not uncommon that the drive-thru lines for both are backing out into South, which makes going east or west through that intersection a pretty difficult proposition,” Simpson said.

Smith said there may be an opportunity to extend an additional southbound lane on Campbell Avenue in the future, effectively making Campbell go three lanes north and three lanes south.

“I’ve seen that same issue, too, and we’d like to do what we can to address that,” Smith said.

Rance Burger

Rance Burger covers local government for the Daily Citizen. His goal is to help people know more about what projects their government is involved in, and how their tax dollars are being spent. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 15 years experience in journalism. Reach him at rburger@sgfcitizen.org or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger