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North-South Corridor Alliance organizer Jane Paul opposes the Kansas Expressway extension during a Greene County Commission meeting.
SBJ photo by SYDNI MOORE
North-South Corridor Alliance organizer Jane Paul opposes the Kansas Expressway extension during a Greene County Commission meeting.

Opponents rally against Kansas Expressway extension

Posted online

Roughly 40 audience members wore red yesterday at the Greene County Commission’s meeting in opposition of the Kansas Expressway extension to Christian County.

The roadway plan has been in motion since 1984, when the city of Springfield and Greene County recommended a major thoroughfare extending south of Route M/Republic Road, according to the commissioner’s website. The North-South Corridor Alliance, a group against the Kansas expansion, formed in June after a March informational meeting at Wanda Gray Elementary School in Nixa.

“We were appalled by what we heard and saw,” said Jane Paul, the initial organizer of the alliance who spoke in front of county commissioners yesterday. “It’s just very black and white.”

The alliance’s website acknowledges a corridor is needed between neighboring Greene and Christian counties, but Kansas Expressway is the wrong way to go. In 2007, however, the Ozarks Transportation Organization Board of Directors unanimously voted to adopt the North-South Corridor Study, which justified the expressway over all other options, including Campbell Avenue and Highway FF/West Bypass. An executive summary of the North-South Corridor Study indicates the Kansas Expressway extension would cost approximately $102.4 million.

“It’s too late to build this,” Paul added. “It should have been built 30 years ago.”

Taxpaying residents in the North-South Corridor Study chose West Bypass as their route of choice.

“Campbell was the people’s second choice and the desired route of the city of Nixa,” the alliance’s website reads. “This route makes more sense to develop south of Plainview than spending on Kansas Expressway.”

Opponents, including Care to Learn founder Doug Pitt, also spoke yesterday to the increase of traffic that could be caused by the Kansas Expressway expansion. Traffic on Weaver Avenue would increase 34.6 percent from Campbell to Weaver and 57.3 percent to Cox Road, Pitt said.

Plainview Road traffic would increase at a greater rate, the alliance’s website states, to 17,000 from 9,500 vehicles a day, according to data provided by Greene County.

The alliance has been funded solely by donations, Paul told Springfield Business Journal after the meeting. It has gathered over 500 signatures for a petition on its website.

Construction is expected to begin next summer. The plans, 30 years in the making, already have been approved. County leaders made the decision in the early 1990s, and have been purchasing land piece by piece to get started. The county still needs to buy 10 percent of the land needed. The first phase of the extension is planned to start at Republic Road and move south toward Weaver Road. The second calls for the construction of Kansas Expressway from Weaver to Plainview Road. It would not be completed until additional financing is gathered, according to information from Greene County.

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