Residents and business owners will soon have opportunities to review and comment on five proposed design alternatives for the Highway 13 Corridor in north Springfield near Interstate 44, Highway 13 and Norton Road. (Photo: Ozarks Transportation Organization)

Residents and business owners will soon have opportunities to review and comment on five proposed design alternatives for the Highway 13 Corridor in north Springfield near Interstate 44, Highway 13 and Norton Road.

The Ozarks Transportation Organization is hosting an in-person meeting 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Library Station at 2535 N. Kansas Expressway.

A virtual meeting will be available from Tuesday to March 21. (A meeting link will be posted on OTO’s website on Tuesday. Find it at ozarkstransportation.org.)

Andy Thomason, Senior Planner for OTO, said the public seems very interested in this project due to lengthy traffic delays in that area.

“There were some significant delays on southbound Highway 13, I think as high as 20 minutes,” Thomason said. “There were some accidents that occurred along the corridor of Farm Road 94 as well.

“It was something that we’ve had a lot of interest from the community on trying to figure out how to fix this area,” he continued. “There’s a lot of unique challenges with Norton Road there, with the zoo and the fairgrounds.”

At the meetings, the public can learn about the five design proposals for the I-44 interchange, Highway 13 and Norton Road to address the issues. 

“Some of the proposals, when we look at traffic models into the future, they don’t perform quite as well as some of the other options. But we have the alternatives,” Thomason said. “We’re looking for the local perspectives from local business owners, residents on which options look most feasible.”

For those who chose the virtual meeting option, recorded presentations will be available to watch. The public is encouraged to respond to a survey that will be available at the in-person and virtual meetings. 

“There will be one that’ll kind of float to the top,” Thomason said of the proposals, adding that whichever option is most popular will likely still need some tweaks and adjustments. 

OTO’s goal is to have a final public meeting in May where the preferred proposal will be presented and discussed.

Background on this project

The following information is from ozarkstransportation.org: 

The existing diverging diamond interchange at I-44 and Highway 13 was completed in June 2009. The current configuration was selected to facilitate the large volume of left-turning traffic onto I-44. In conjunction with the construction of the diverging diamond, changes were made at the intersection of Norton road, to the north, and Evergreen Street and Golden Palace, to the south. Today, the traffic queue exiting westbound I-44 extends into mainline I-44 traffic and traffic delays of up to 20 minutes are experienced by southbound Highway 13 drivers. The goal of this study is to identify improvements to the existing interchange or identify alternative interchange designs.

During the first round of public meetings held in November of 2021, the public shared the many ways congestion along this corridor was impacting their lives. The design team learned of alternate routes, fatal accidents, recurring congestion, and dangerous traffic queues. The team has been using these local insights, along with hard traffic numbers, to identify different approaches to addressing these issues. These design alternatives will be reviewed by the public during the project’s second round of public meetings.

Jackie Rehwald

Jackie Rehwald is a reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. She covers housing, homelessness, domestic violence and transportation, among other public affairs issues. Her office line is 417-837-3659. More by Jackie Rehwald