Joplin city leaders reveal Connecticut Street expansion plan

Joplin city leaders get their first chance to show off plans for the Connecticut Street widening project to the public. The residents think it's great for drivers and could be useful for evening walks. But beyond that, not much else.

The City of Joplin introduced its $16 and half million dollar Connecticut Street widening project plans today. The first phase, set to begin early next year, will be the replacement of the I-44 overpass, which will be split 50/50 between MODOT and the City of Joplin. 

In 2019, crews will widen Connecticut from the bridge south to 44th Street and then widen 44th, east to Range Line. The final part will be from north of the overpass to 32nd Street.

Dan Johnson, Joplin Public Works: "Having the extra lanes will certainly make it a more user friendly street."

It calls for 30 feet of new road on one side and another 10 feet on the other, making it a four lane road. Residents who live on the busy road think it only benefits the driver.

Hope Stansberry Resident: "But with the extra lanes it might help, but it's going to bring in a lot more traffic and for homeowners it's going to be harder for us to even sell our house when we do list it, so that kind of scares me a lot."

Connecticut Street is a major corridor from North Joplin to South Joplin, which is why the city has focused on this road.

Dan Johnson, Joplin Public Works: "We don't really choose to make the traffic go, we follow the traffic and those projections and so far the corridor has proven to be useful."

And according to residents that traffic flow is fast moving.

Hope Stansberry, Resident: "It's going to be a drag race, it already is, it's just going to be a lot more."

Stansberry isn't alone, other homeowners see those races.

Kelli Thornburg, Resident: "You know how many times people try to get from that light to that stop sign going 80 miles an hour, it's ridiculous. Then you have more lanes through here, they're going to go faster." 

Despite residents' concerns, the city is hopeful to start work on this project as early as the beginning of the year. All the construction should be over by the year 2020. As for paying for the project, MODOT will cover half and the City of Joplin will cover the other half.

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