Residents express approval, concern at hearing for Stadium Boulevard improvements

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | 8:52 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — During the 30 years Barbara Allen has owned her property near Stadium Boulevard and Broadway, she has seen Stadium Boulevard transformed from a two-lane to a four-lane highway.

In March 2013, Allen will see it reach six lanes.

Stages for the Stadium Boulevard Improvements

Stage one: the Crossroads Shopping Center driveway — completed April 2011.

Stage two: the intersection at Worley Street and Columbia Mall — expected to begin August 2011.

Stage three: the Fairview Road, Bernadette Drive and Columbia Mall parking lot — expected to begin January 2012.

Stage four: the diverging diamond interchange at Interstate 70 and Stadium Boulevard — expected to begin June 2012.

Stage five: the widening of Stadium Boulevard — expected to begin March 2013.

Source: MoDOT Central District


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Allen voiced her concerns about Stadium becoming a six-lane highway and other aspects of the proposed improvements at the Missouri Department of Transportation's project meeting Tuesday.

"My concern is that I back up to Stadium, and the noise is a huge factor," she said. "I just know the increase in noise and traffic will be huge."

MoDOT employees recognized Allen's concerns as well as those of other residents by testing the noise impact of the area, said Rob Meade, state highway noise coordinator.

"We have to model noise walls to see what affect they have on highway noise," he said. "We're looking at a five decibel decrease in noise (with the walls)." 

The open house-style hearing allowed residents to voice their comments and concerns, as well as provide them with a construction schedule.

The widening of Stadium Boulevard is the last of five stages in the schedule for the improvements. Stage one was completed in April, and stage two is expected to begin in August.

MoDOT Transportation Project Manager Nicole Hood said she expects construction to continue through 2014 and is hopeful it will finish within that year. Despite the length of the planned construction, Hood said she expects minimal delays in traffic.

"We'll try to minimize lane closures and do as many at night as we can," Hood said. "We'll do press releases for the public so they're aware in advance."

While some Columbia residents have concerns, Assistant City Manager Paula Hertwig Hopkins, who said she had concerns about the diverging diamond interchange, was impressed by the information.

"It's really cool how it moves traffic in either direction," Hopkins said. "It's a project that we need."

Hood said the diverging diamond interchange works well in that location because its design allows for high volumes of traffic. It also allows motorists to make left turns without crossing opposing traffic before merging at the on-ramp to the highway.

Columbia resident Larry Moore also expressed his excitement for the Stadium Boulevard improvements.

"It's a great idea," Moore said. "Construction will be an issue while doing it, but the result will be well worth it."

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