Under MoDOT's $13.6 million plan to repave Glenstone Avenue, the intersection signals and pedestrian crossings at Glenstone and Grand Street will be upgraded. (Photo by Rance Burger)

More than nine of Springfield’s most traveled road miles will get a makeover, including big changes to Glenstone Avenue.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is planning a $13.6 million facelift for 9.1 miles of Glenstone between East Farm Road 100 and the roundabout at Republic Road.

Kristi Bachman, a project manager for the MoDOT Southwest District, told the Springfield City Council that MoDOT had just let the project out for bid. Bachman gave a summary of the Glenstone plan at a City Council transportation workshop on Aug. 16 at the Transportation Management Center of the Ozarks.

MoDOT does not have an estimated date of completion for the Glenstone repaving project. It was originally scheduled to begin in the spring of 2022.

“We are planning to resurface Glenstone from north of Valley Water Mill all the way down to James River Freeway, and then a little asphalt segment on Nature Center Way, as well,” Bachman said.

Up and down Glenstone Avenue, non-ADA-compliant pedestrian crosswalks will be rebuilt to comply with federal law. MoDOT worked with 192 different Springfield property owners to get the right-of-way and easement agreements necessary to upgrade the Glenstone Avenue corridor.

“We were able to partner with the city of Springfield to install new sidewalks and address some of the gaps from St. Louis down to Seminole,” Bachman said.

In partnership with Springfield City Utilities, MoDOT also plans to install bus stop pads on South Glenstone Avenue and Battlefield Road, Erie Street, Primrose Street and Peele Street.

New traffic signals will be built at St. Louis Street, Cherry Street, Bennett Street and Grand Street. The traffic signal installations coincide with some technology line upgrades that should make traffic control more reliable and more efficient.

“We’re installing fiber optic, mostly on the north end of the project where we have some gaps,” Bachman said.

HAWK beacons roost in Springfield

A top view aerial photograph shows where a pedestrian crossing spans Sunset Street
A HAWK signal helps pedestrians cross Sunset Street and connect to a trail. (Aerial photo from the Greene County Assessor’s Office)

Every intersection will have continental striping, which is 30 inches wide. There are also spots where pedestrians cross Glenstone Avenue where there is not a major street intersection. Bachman explained the plan to add high-intensity activated crosswalk beacons, called HAWK signals, at crossings between Kearney Street and Interstate 44, and between Sunshine Street and East Bennett Street.

“The two midblock crossings, the one north of Portland and the one north of Kearney will be replaced with the HAWK signal, which is more appropriate for this type of roadway, and we’re installing a new midblock crossing near Evangel,” Bachman said.

HAWK beacons generally hang over a roadway, but unlike traffic lights, are not lit unless a pedestrian presses a button when they wish to cross the street. Springfield has one HAWK signal crossing on Sunset Street between Holland Avenue and South Kimbrough Avenue. The HAWK signal helps pedestrians cross Sunset to access the South Creek Greenway Trail.

Spiffing up storefronts on Glenstone Avenue

Bachman said there are places where left turn lanes will be eliminated to reduce the risk of vehicle crashes, and that the project will cause the elimination of 27 unused or unsafe driveways off of Glenstone Avenue. Existing driveways that have sidewalks crossing them will be made compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In addition to making Glenstone Avenue safer, Councilman Richard Ollis asked what sort of efforts could be made to make Glenstone Avenue a more welcoming place.

“It wouldn’t be required, but it would certainly be a great opportunity while this is going on to encourage others to spiff things up,” Ollis said. “Glenstone is one of our major thoroughfares through the community, and frankly, it needs a little love.”

Sidewalks running along Glenstone Avenue, seen here looking from its intersection with Grand Street, will be brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Photo by Rance Burger)

Ollis suggested the city government make some effort to contact business owners along Glenstone Avenue to find out about any beautification or improvement projects underway or in the works.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to improve the aesthetics of Glenstone, as well,” Ollis said. “Do we have any plans to not only encourage businesses along the route to maybe make things more aesthetically pleasing? But it would be a great time, obviously, to improve whatever — parking lots, signage, the fronts of businesses, et cetera, while this is going on.”

City Manager Jason Gage said that as of Aug. 16, the only contacts between the city, MoDOT and property owners on Glenstone Avenue had been about right-of-way and easements. Ollis said the Glenstone Avenue project provides the city and private business owners some opportunities to create excitement.

Danger level drops at Republic Road

MoDOT engineer Brad Gripka gave an overview of the recently completed roundabout at Glenstone Avenue and Republic Road as part of the transportation meeting. The $13.6 million project put a two-lane roundabout just south of the U.S. Highway 60 interchange with Glenstone Avenue.

As of mid-August, the project is almost done.

“We still have a few things that we need to work on and a few corrections,” Gripka said.

With additional lanes open and a new configuration for southbound Glenstone drivers accessing U.S. Highway 60 and Republic Road, Gripka said the entire area is much safer for drivers, and the statistics prove it.

“All of the accidents dropped off tremendously,” Gripka said. “All of the accidents were just completely eliminated with the addition of the new auxiliary lane coming off of Glenstone, it was just a huge improvement.”

Gripka said MoDOT opened up single lanes and opened the additional lanes slowly, which began to alleviate traffic backups as drivers who regularly travel through the area got used to navigating the dual roundabouts.

“We had to add some additional traffic signs and pavement markings. It took traffic a little while to get used to the dual roundabouts — a lot of confusion for the city to get used to dual roundabouts,” Gripka said.

A computer-generated illustration shows a two-lane roundabout just south of U.S. Highway 60/James River Freeway at the intersection of Glenstone Avenue, Republic Road and Nature Center Way. The roundabout opened to traffic in the summer of 2022. (Illustration: Missouri Department of Transportation)

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