All projects must be approved by the Springfield City Commission, TCC board president Elmer Beard said.
“This is just a study to indicate the feasibility of what the corridor could look like,” Beard said. “Any actual implementation of that is going to rest with the Springfield City Commission.”
The busy Springfield corridor could see $12M in improvements over the next 5 to 15 years.
The proposal includes widening the street between South Limestone and John streets, as well as realigning the intersection at Spring Street and Selma Road. The corridor sees about 20,000 cars per day.
Consulting firm Burgess and Niple conducted the $119,000 study that identified problems and needs for the corridor. It also held several public meetings to gain feedback from residents.
The $730,000 first phase of the project includes plans to reconfigure the intersection at Leffel Lane, which was submitted for a federal funding process.
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The improvements at the intersection would include a double turn lane from Leffel Lane going south on to South Limestone Street, as well as add a right turn-only lane from South Limestone Street onto Leffel Lane. The changes could improve safety and alleviate congestion currently created in the mornings and evenings by both employees at Assurant Group and students at Clark State Community College.
The $4.9 million second phase of the project includes reducing Limestone Street to three 11-foot wide lanes beginning north of John Street and ending at Miller Street. It includes one through lane in each direction and a center turning lane. Traffic studies and forecasts prove the change is warranted, Transportation Planner Cory Lynn Golden said.
“It’s possible to move traffic without building small highways in the city,” Golden said. “We can’t recommend something that would destroy the transportation network or cause major congestion.”
It also includes constructing a mini-roundabout at the Grand Avenue intersection. It currently has a traffic signal, which slows down traffic.
Every roundabout in the county has gotten push back from the public, Member Richard Henry said.
Roundabouts are trusted throughout the country, but it’s new for local drivers, Schmid said. The stop light at Grand Avenue doesn’t have enough traffic for a signal and it was originally recommended for a two-way stop, he said.
“I felt with the distance between John Street and Grand, there are no other breaks in traffic for vehicles,” Schmid said. “(The roundabout) reduces delay. You’re not sitting waiting on other traffic. It’s a better counter measure. … As a study, it’s a best recommendation, but there are multiple other options.”
The $3.3 million third phase would widen Limestone Street from Leffel Lane to John Street to widen the lanes and reconstruct sidewalks to provide more buffer from the street. It would also make changes to the access points for businesses.
The $3.2 million fourth phase recommends eliminating the intersection at Spring Street/Selma Road and constructing a new connection from Limestone Street to Selma Road through Clark Street with a stop sign. The study says it would make the intersection safer and provide more traffic into downtown, but it’s not as critical as the other recommendations.
Springfield Twp. resident Susan Page spoke out against the proposal. She believes the changes will make traffic slower and cause congestion into downtown as more jobs are created. The changes to access along the corridor could also make some restaurants leave the city, she said.
“I believe it should be beautified, that we should have a nice entrance into the city,” Page said, “but I question the rationale of making the traffic move more slowly rather than making it flow more smoothly.”
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