The diverging diamond interchange at Battlefield Road and U.S. Highway 65 opened Feb. 14, 2015. (Photo: Greene County Assessor's Office)

One of Springfield’s key street interchanges with U.S. Highway 65 will be repaved in what will be the first maintenance project for a critical diverging diamond.

Sept. 6, the Springfield City Council voted 8-0 to enter a cost share agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission to repave the diverging diamond interchange at Battlefield Road and U.S. Highway 65. The total cost for the work will be $766,837.

Springfield Director of Public Works Dan Smith explained that the city will pay 35 percent of the cost, or $268,393.04. The state will pay the remaining 65 percent. The agreement allows for additional paving work from the stoplight at South Moulder Avenue east to the interchange, and from the interchange east to the intersection of Battlefield Road and South Ruskin Avenue, east of Highway 65 and Blackman Road.

Smith said the agreement will allow for more paving at one time, and should also lead to a lower overall cost for asphalt.

“We talked to MoDOT about cost-sharing so that with one project, we could pave the entire area, give a better product to the community, and also hopefully leverage those larger quantities for better prices,” Smith said.

The Missouri Department of Transportation orchestrated construction of the diverging diamond interchange as part of its larger Highway 65 rebuilding project. The diverging diamond interchange at Battlefield Road and U.S. Highway 65 opened Feb. 14, 2015, according to MoDOT records.

According to the city council bill approved Sept. 6, Springfield’s share of the money will come from a ¼-cent sales tax, and the project is in Springfield’s 2022-2023 operating budget.

MoDOT will be in charge of putting the project out to bid, securing any necessary right of way, and overseeing the paving project. A target completion date has not been set.

Why diverging diamonds?

According to a MoDOT fact sheet on diverging diamond interchanges, the design is best suited for interchanges where a bulk of the vehicles passing through the interchange make left turns.

“This increase in left-turn capacity can be accomplished without drastically increasing the required crossroad’s width,” part of the MoDOT engineering policy guide for diverging diamonds reads. “The ability to accommodate a high number of left turns improves the efficiency and, thereby, the capacity of the interchange.”

According to a Springfield Department of Public Works pre-pandemic traffic study, 25,284 vehicles used the northbound ramp from U.S. Highway 65 to exit onto Battlefield on a single Monday on May 13, 2019. The most recent traffic study of the Battlefield Road and Moulder Avenue intersection showed more than 32,000 vehicles passed through on one day in 2014, and most of those vehicles were going eastbound toward the highway.

Springfield is home to what is claimed to be the first diverging diamond interchange in the United States. The diverging diamond interchange at Interstate 44 and Kansas Expressway/Highway 13 opened in 2009.

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