MoDOT Mulling New I-35 Interchange at Kearney

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KEARNEY, Mo. -- Drivers in Kearney may soon have an entire new avenue to the interstate.

MoDOT has a plan to remedy some of the congestion on Interstate 35 near Kearney. Plans are in the opening stages to build a new junction between the interstate and one of the city's main streets.

For now, the construction sites that are being considered are merely patches gravel and tall grass. However, they could soon turn into busy streets. David Pavlich, Kearney's City Development Director, says two neighboring sites in the Petty Road neighborhood are being considered. Both of them would connect the interstate with Route 33, and potentially relieve traffic problems in town.

"When you drive in Kearney, you'll see that there's a need at certain times of the day," Pavlich said. "In the mornings and evenings, it would be very helpful."

MoDOT says it's plans for the Kearney interchange are in the early stages, and dollars won't be budgeted for it until after plans are submitted to the federal government in 2013. Mark Fisher is the engineer in charge for MoDOT, whose numbers say as many as 34,000 vehicles travel every day in the Kearney area.

"I think, in general people, are for improvements to the road system," Fisher said. "It affects some people depending on where the location is."

As it stands, Kearney has one interchange with Interstate 35 for city of about 10,000 people. Pavlich reminds us this project won't start or finish overnight, but once it does, it could benefit Kearney in many ways.

"We're looking down the road several years. By that time, we'll definitely need a new interchange," Pavlich said.

Statistics from MoDOT show it can cost as much as $15 million to build a basic interchange from the interstate onto secondary roads. MoDOT officials tell FOX 4 News the earliest bulldozers could start moving would be sometime in 2015. In the meantime, MoDOT offers an online meeting, where comments from the public are being recorded.

Here's a link to that public meeting.

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