It was an event they've looked forward to for five years – a celebration of the substantial completion of the Woods Chapel Reconstruction Project.
The ceremony Wednesday was near the new Woods Chapel Road diverging diamond interchange over Interstate 70.
“The investment in our infrastructure addresses long-identified traffic concerns in past visioning surveys and our annual Citizen Satisfaction Surveys ,” stated Mayor Carson Ross.
In August 2008, Blue Springs residents passed two bond issues for sewer and street improvements, one of which authorized $28 million for road and intersection improvements including the widening of Woods Chapel Road.
“The Woods Chapel area felt neglected with all the focus appearing to be placed on the east section of town,” said Ross. “We wanted to help attract business opportunities by improving Woods Chapel.” He pointed out the improvement efforts have landed a CVS Pharmacy and future business developments are in discussion.
The Woods Chapel Road improvementsthat began in April 2012 incorporated a diverging diamond interchange on the I-70 overpass. The diamond is one of only three in the Kansas City metropolitan area and is intended to curb traffic congestion and increase safety.
“Inititally residents were a bit hesitant and unsure of the new diverging diamond,” says Blue Springs Communications Manager Kim Nakahodo. “But once they experienced and drove through it, they realized it helped out with traffic flow.”
The city says that more than 30,000 vehicles travel through the Woods Chapel corridor daily. Dan Niec of the Missouri Department of Transportation said, “People are amazed. Without a question it is more efficient and safe.”
Phase II of Woods Chapel improvements include the continuation of widening the road and also constructing a roundabout near Old Mill Park. The roundabout will ease traffic flow and help prevent accidents that are reported within that vicinity, according to Nakahodo. It is expected to be under construction throughout 2014.
Groups involved in the project that attended the ceremony included Transystems, Miles Excavation, Missouri Department of Transportation, and the city of Independence.
Ross said the project would not be possible without the collaborative efforts of all groups involved. “The reconstructed Woods Chapel Road corridor has dramatically streamlined rush hour congestion, better serves our existing businesses and creates a beautiful western gateway in Blue Springs.”